Dispur: Today, in Assam voting has begun amid heavy security for a phase one of the two-phase panchayat elections. The Panchayat Polls, being held at a time when there are widespread protests in the state over the citizenship bill, are being seen as a test for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party which came to power in a coalition in the state in 2016.
According to the sources, For the election more than 1 lakh security personnel have been deployed after a faction of terror group ULFA, led by Paresh Baruah, has become active in recent months.
In Assam, the Citizenship Bill reportedly created a rift between the ruling BJP and its ally Asom Gana Parishad (AGP). Not only did the two parties campaign separately for the elections, but both were also extremely critical of each other.
To regain lost ground in the northeastern state, The Congress and the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) are treating the panchayat election as an opportunity.
For the first time, Mamata Banerjee Trinamool Congress is also contesting the panchayat polls in Assam, making it a multi-cornered contest.
The campaigning in the states has been as high-pitched despite being a panchayat election because of the assembly election. The analysts of Political mentions that this election, being held just a few months before the Lok Sabha polls, that show the indicator of which way the electorate will vote in the 2019 general election.
The State Election Commission reveals that 78,571 candidates are contesting for 26,808 seats for the panchayat polls. In the first phase polling today, 97,45,709 voters will vote in 14,077 polling booths to choose among 43,515 candidates contesting in 15,899 constituencies. The first phase of the panchayat election will be held in 16 districts.
The official’s sources have confirmed that 734 candidates were declared elected unopposed. 380 were from BJP, 193 from Congress, 28 from AGP, 10 from All India United Democratic Front, one from CPM, five from Bodoland People Front (BPF) and 117 Independents.