BARPETA

Published on Apr 16, 2004 04:09 PM IST

Barpeta, regarded to have politically sensitive voters, is one of the first to wake up and this is evident in the agressive manner in which the candidates have chosen to canvass.

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PTI | ByPress Trust of India, Barpeta

In contrast to the otherwise lacklustre response of the voters to the Lok Sabha polls, this sleepy township is fast gaining momentum in terms of electioneering for the April 20 first phase election.

Barpeta L S constituency is scheduled to go the hustings alongwith five other seats in the first phase of Assam poll and although there is enough time for the D-Day, keen interest is envinced among all in this area.

Although there is no particular "wave" this time in favour of any political party, the candidates through street corner rallies, bicyle and scooter rallies and by dispalying banners are wasting no time to woo the voters.

While in other constituencies electioneering is yet to pick up, the Barpeta seat, regarded to have poltically sensitive voters, is one of the first to wake up and this is evident in the agressive manner in which the candidates have chosen to canvass.

A constituency having a sizeable number of minority voter is however not expected to give a cakewalk to its sitting Congress MP and minority leader A F Golam Osmani.

Osmani himself had to get past several hurdles within his own party before he got renomination which several party insiders feel was a wrong decision.

"Compared to last time, electioneering has started very early, no candidate can be sure of winning this time", feels 20-year old Mridul Baishya who will be voting for the second time in the L S poll.

This is because hardly any development work has taken place in this backward area and most people are aware of this, Baishya told PTI.

Regarded as a one-time stronghold of the banned ULFA, intereference of underground elements have not been ruled out this time in the election.

When approached the police feel that this (ULFA) will not be a factor as not far away inside Bhutan, the outfit had recently suffered a heavy blow by the Royal Bhutan Army and was in a state of disarray.

Despite being a seasoned campaigner Osmani however will take heart out of the fact that none of his opponent has so far made a good impact on the people except perhaps opposition Asom Gana Parishad's Kumar Deepak Das.

Das has been a victim of ULFA violence as he lost both his legs in a bomb blast and this time he is expected to ride a sympathy wave, says a housewife Surabala Das.

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