Assembly Elections 2021 LIVE Updates: Rangja Khungur Basumatary told a local TV channel that he had decided to resign from BPF as the party did not lend any helping hand to him during the campaign.
Assembly Elections 2021 LATEST Updates: Rangja Khungur Basumatary told a local TV channel that he had decided to resign from BPF as the party did not lend any helping hand to him during the campaign.
Senior Congress leader Manish Tiwari, who was also present at the press conference, said, "The Congress has contested this election with a very positive campaign. The people of the state have responded to it very enthusiastically."
The Election Commission of India Thursday said that the second phase of Assam and West Bengal elections was conducted peacefully across 21,112 polling stations spread over 69 Assembly constituencies.
However, sporadic incidents of violence were reported in West Bengal with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee slamming the Election Commission over inaction to complaints filed by her party.
"I am not worried about Nandigram, I am confident of victory. (But) I am worried about democracy," Banerjee said as she showed the 'V' for victory sign to a gaggle of press photographers. The feisty TMC boss said she would win a majority of the 60 seats that had gone to the polls in the first and second phase.
The EC, however, made no mention of violence in its statement released on Thursday evening.
"Voter turnout reported by 5 pm from the 39 Assembly seats of phase 2 in Assam is 73.03 percent, whereas the poll percentage reported from the 30 constituencies of phase 2 in West Bengal is 80.43% as of 5 pm," ANI quoted EC as saying.
"A total number of 1306 cases of Model Code of Conduct violations were reported through the cVIGIL app from Assam out of which 927 were disposed of as of 4.30 pm. Similarly, 14,499 cases were reported from West Bengal with 11,630 disposed of till 4.30 pm," the statement added.
While more than 73 lakh electorates across 10,592 Polling Stations are registered to exercise their franchise in the 39 seats in the second phase of polling in Assam, in West Bengal, nearly 76 lakh electorates are registered across 10,620 Polling Stations in 30 Assembly Constituencies.
"During this phase, a total of 10620 Ballot Units (BUs), 10620 Control Units(CUs) and 10620 VVPATs were used in West Bengal and 10819 Ballot Units (BUs), 10592 Control Units (CUs) and 10592 VVPATs were used in Assam," the commission said in a release.
Webcasting arrangements were put in place for 5,535 polling stations in West Bengal and 5,193 polling stations in Assam, the commission added.
The EC also said that the option of postal ballot facility was extended to PwDs, Senior Citizens above the age of 80 years, COVID-19 suspect or affected persons and persons employed in essential services.
Polling in Assam has been largely peaceful. However, the Election Commission issued a show-cause notice to Assam minister and BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma for allegedly making threatening remarks against Bodoland People's Front leader Hagrama Mohilary.
In West Bengal sporadic incidents of violence, including the death of a TMC worker, marred the second phase polling. The ruling TMC alleged "booth capturing" and massive fake voting in Boyal in Nandigram from where Mamata is a candidate.
Violence broke out in Boyal after Mamata Banerjee reached there and BJP supporters started chanting 'Jai Shri Ram' slogans. Supporters of the two parties then indulged in violence, as TMC leaders demanded re-polling in booth number 7, police said.
Meanwhile, BJP's star campaigner Prime Minister Narendra Modi said a BJP wave was blowing across West Bengal, claiming his party will win over 200 of the state's 294 assembly seats.
BJP candidate from Keshpur assembly constituency Tanmay Ghosh's vehicle was on Thursday vandalised allegedly by supporters of the Trinamool Congress, police said.
The Congress, an ally of BDF in Assam, had complained that Sarma had threatened to send Mohilary to jail misusing the National Investigation Agency.
Congress leader Sushmita Dev cast her vote during the second phase of elections in the state at a polling booth in Silchar
A BJP polling agent at booth number 173 in Keshpur was beaten up allegedly by TMC workers. The polling agent has been rushed to a hospital, ANI reported.
Former MoS Railways and BJP leader Rajen Gohain cast his vote at a polling booth in Nagaon
Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged people to vote in large numbers in the second phase of assembly polls in Assam and West Bengal to strengthen the festival of democracy.
Suvendu Adhikari said on Thursday, "I appeal to people to come out in large numbers to cast their vote as the whole country is looking at Nandigram. People are waiting to see if development or politics of appeasement will win here."
Polling has begun amid tight security arrangements and COVID-19 protocols in a total of 30 Assembly constituencies in West Bengal and 39 in Assam in the second phase of the elections in both the states today (Thursday, 1 April).
The second phase of elections will decide the fate of 345 candidates, including five ministers, the deputy Speaker and some key Opposition candidates in Assam, whereas, 171 candidates are in the fray in West Bengal with the spotlight being on Nandigram where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is facing the electoral battle against her protege-turned rival BJP's Suvendu Adhikari.
While elections in Assam are being held in three phases, Bengal elections are being conducted in eight phases.
Both Assam and Bengal saw the first phase of polling on 27 March, with the northeastern state seeing an estimated turnout of 79.97 percent in 47 seats. Bengal, which saw 30 seats undergo polling in the first phase registered an estimated turnout of 84.63 percent.
In West Bengal, all 10,620 booths where over 75 lakh voters will cast their votes in this phase have been declared as sensitive by the Election Commission, and around 651 companies of Central forces have been deployed to provide security, officials told news agency PTI, adding that state police will also be deployed at strategic locations during the polling which begins at 7 am.
Polling will take place amid strict adherence to coronavirus guidelines in nine seats of Paschim Medinipur, eight in Bankura, four seats in South 24 Parganas and nine in Purba Medinipur — the home turf of TMC turncoat and BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari.
Nandigram, the agrarian constituency which shook the foundations of the Left regime over the anti-land acquisition movement in 2007, falls in Purba Medinipur district. The constituency has now turned into a battleground of titans with Banerjee suddenly deciding to switch from her Bhowanipur seat to the constituency held by Adhikari, her former lieutenant who has switched loyalty to the BJP.
Banerjee's victory could herald the overshadowing of the powerful Adhikari family which has had a hold over the area for nearly a decade and raise a question mark on Suvendu's political graph in his new party. On the other hand, a victory for Suvendu could pose a question mark on Banerjee's political future while at the same time possibly propel Adhikari into few miles ahead of others in the chief ministerial race in case the BJP is voted to power.
A win is also important for Banerjee, who is running for the third successive term as chief minister, to lead the government and keep together her party, which has faced exodus in the run-up to the polls.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday exuded confidence that Adhikari will win the seat and said that defeating Banerjee from Nandigram would be a precursor to the much-desired change in the state.
The West Bengal chief minister, on the other hand, alleged that goons from other states have come to Nandigram to foment trouble and intimidate the voters and urged the Election Commission to take action.
The Commission on Wednesday imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC in Nandigram, a senior official told PTI.
Twenty-two companies of central forces and a 22-personnel quick response team (QRT) will be deployed in Nandigram on Thursday, an Election Commission official had told PTI on Tuesday.
The EC has also constituted a team of officials who will supervise the proceedings in Nandigram on the poll day, he had said.
Another prominent seat going to the poll in the second phase is Sabang, where TMC has fielded its Rajya Sabha MP Manas Bhunia, who held the seat from 1982 to 2016 as a Congress candidate before switching loyalties. He is up against TMC turncoat and BJP leader Amulya Maity.
In Bankura, the TMC has fielded actor Sayantika Banerjee, a popular face in the Bengali silver screen against BJP's Niladri Sekhar Dana while the Sanjukta Morcha has fielded Congress' Radharani Banerjee.
In Debra seat, two former IPS officers who resigned from their senior police posts to join active politics — BJP candidate Bharati Ghosh and TMC's Humayun Kabir — will face off.
Of the 30 seats in which voters will exercise their franchise on Thursday, 23 were won by TMC in the 2016 Assembly elections, five by the Left Front and Congress and BJP one each.
The political equation in the state had changed in 2019 when BJP made massive inroads in the tribal-dominated Janga Mahal region and Medinipur belt by sweeping all the five Lok Sabha seats. The TMC, however, has been able to maintain its dominance in the South 24 Parganas district, where there is a sizeable minority population.
Banerjee, who is in a wheelchair since her accident early this month, crisscrossed the majority of the constituencies going to the polls in the second phase.
TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee toured the rest asserting that TMC will not let Bengal be ruled from Delhi or Gujarat in an apparent reference to the battery of central BJP leaders and ministers camping in the state.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP national president JP Nadda had led BJP's campaign from the front addressing rallies at Kanthi, Bankura and Nandigram and urging the electorate to vote for BJP to usher in 'ashol poriborton' (actual change) to build 'Sonar Bangla' (prosperous Bengal).
In Assam, a total of 73,44,631 voters will be deciding the fate of 345 candidates, including 26 women. Of the total electors, 37,34,537 are males and 36,09,959 females, while 135 have identified themselves as the third gender. Total 10,592 polling stations have been set up in 5,774 premises.
The ruling BJP is contesting 34 seats, while its allies Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and United People's Party Liberal (UPPL) are fighting in six and three seats, respectively.
The BJP and the AGP are engaged in friendly contests in Patharkandi and Algapur, while the saffron party is engaged in similar fights with the UPPL in Majbat and Kalaigaon.
The Grand Alliance's Congress is contesting in 28 seats, the AIUDF in seven and Bodoland Peoples' Front (BPF) in four. The newly-formed Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) is contesting in 19 seats.
There is a direct contest between the NDA and the Grand Alliance in 25 constituencies, while the rest are witnessing triangular fights.
The key candidates in this phase include BJP minister Parimal Suklabaidya, Deputy Speaker Aminul Haque Laskar, state minister Pijush Hazarika and AIUDF's Sirajuddin Ajmal, among others.
Suklabaidya is in a direct contest with Congress's Kamakhya Prasad Mala in Dholai, while BJP's Aminul Haque Laskar is in a straight contest with AIUDF nominee Karim Uddin Barbhuiyan in Sonai.
In the Jagiroad (SC) constituency, Hazarika is locked in a triangular contest with Congress' Swapan Kumar Mandal and AJP's Bubul Das from, while his cabinet colleague Bhabesh Kalita is in a direct fight with AJP's Babul Saharia in Rangiya.
Rajya Sabha MP Biswajit Daimary is fighting against BPF's Karuna Kanta Swargiary in Paneri, while AIUDF's Sirajuddin Ajmal, a former MP and MLA, is fighting the elections against AGP's Sadikullah Bhuyan from Jamunamukh.
Former Congress minister Gautam Roy, contesting on a BJP ticket from Katigora, is in a direct fight with his ex-colleague Khalliluddin Mazumdar. Gautam's son Rahul Roy, contesting as an Independent, is in a triangular contest with former Congress minister Ajit Singh and sitting BJP MLA Mihir Kanti Shome from Udharbond.
Gautam Roy's daughter-in-law Daisy Roy is also contesting as an Independent from Algapur where the AGP's Aftabuddin Laskar and BJP's Moon Swarnakar are involved in a 'friendly contest'. Also in the fray from Algapur is sitting AIUDF MLA Nijamuddin Choudhury.
In Silchar, sitting BJP MLA Dilip Paul, now expelled from the party, is contesting as an Independent and is locked in a contest with BJP candidate Dipayan Chakraborty and Congress' Tamal Kanti Banik.
Another BJP minister, Sum Ronghang, on being denied ticket joined the Congress and is locked in a direct fight against BJP's Bidya Sing Engleng in Diphu.
There are only two candidates in Udalguri (ST) constituency where BPF minister Rihon Daimary is engaged in a direct contest with UPPL's Gobinda Chandra Basumatary, who is currently the deputy chief of the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC).
The elections will be held amid tight security with 310 companies of forces being deployed for the second phase, an official told PTI. Round-the-clock patrolling is being carried out along with strict vigil in critical areas in all the constituencies spread over 13 districts in Barak Valley, the Hills districts and parts of Central and Lower Assam.
A constable and a home guard will be deployed in each polling station with sector and zonal police officers to monitor the situation. Total 42,368 polling personnel have been deployed for the second phase. The second phase polling will also involve 26 general observers, 12 police observers, 16 expenditure observers and 807 micro-observers. Sanitisers, thermal scanners, soaps and handwashing facilities will be available at all polling stations, sources told news agency PTI.
Postal ballots have been issued to 21,281 people above the age of 80 and to 5,407 Persons with Disabilities (PwD).
Among the prominent BJP leaders who campaigned for candidates in the second phase in Assam are Union ministers Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari, Narendra Tomar, Jitendra Singh, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan among others.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, state unit president Ranjeet Kumar Dass, NEDA convenor Himanta Biswa also participated in election events.
The prominent personalities to canvass for candidates of the Grand Alliance included Rajya Sabhas MP Mallikaarjun Kharge, and Dr Akhilesh Prasad Singh, Chhatisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel, Ripun Bora, Lok Sabha MPs Pradyut Bordoloi, Gaurav Gogoi RJD's Tejashwi Yadav, AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal and CPI's Kanhaiya Kumar had also campaigned for the Grand Alliance candidates.
Rahul Gandhi who couldn't make it for the last day of campaigning due to inclement weather, in a video message, said the Congress will not allow the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act in the state.
Both Assam and Bengal will vote for the third phase on 6 April along with Kerala, Puducherry and Tamil Nadu where polling is being held a single phase. The Counting of votes will take place on 2 May.
With inputs from PTI