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MANGALDOI

The Mangaldoi parliamentary constituency situated in the strategic lower Assam area is all set to witness a triangular contest in the first phase of poll on April 20.
PTI | By Press Trust of India
PUBLISHED ON APR 17, 2004 05:58 PM IST

The Mangaldoi parliamentary constituency situated in the strategic lower Assam area is all set to witness a triangular contest in the first phase of poll on April 20.

The political parties are gearing up for the crucial election and the contest is expected to centre around the sitting Congress MP Madhab Rajbonshi, BJP's former state unit president Narayan Borkakoty and AGP's Apurba Bhattacharya.

The state has been witnessing an unprecedented spell of heavy rain for the last ten days but that has not dampened the spirit of the voters in this constituency which was evident when thousands turned up in torrential rain to attend Wednesday's rally of Congress president Sonia Gandhi at the stadium complex here.

While Rajbonshi has been quick in picking up with his election campaign, Barkakoty is not far behind as he alongwith his supporters are also busy in wooing the voters with rallies and street corner meetings.

The AGP has however some signs of encouragement from the constituency as immediately after the signing of the Assam accord there was a swing in the party's favour which resulted the victory of its nominees in the Lok Sabha poll in 1985 and then again in 1996.

It is however Rajbonshi who has stolen the show for the time being with the arrival of party president Sonia Gandhi who addressed a rally here yesterday.

"The presence of Gandhi itself is a big psychological advantage despite the bad weather and the people here have shown satisfaction with my performance in the last five years," Rajbonshi told this visiting PTI correspondent in his Mangaldoi residence.

Flanked by more than 500 supporters, the Congress MP said he begins his day early and tours all nook and corner of the constituency to understand the problems of the voters.

Sometimes there are complaints but overall there is a general satisfaction for the Congress, he claims.

On the other hand, Barkatoky feels that the expected arrival of party heavyweights Sushma Swaraj and president Venkiaiah Naidu will further boost his chances this time.

Despite facing a disadvantage that he does not orginally hail from this palce, Barkatoky is wasting no time in explaining to the people about the achievements of the NDA government.

"I feel that the achievements of the BJP and the NDA Government in the last five years is sufficient to convince any voters," a confident Barkatoky says.

An estimated 12,09,820 voters will decide the fate of the candidates in this seat which has also got a dominant minority population.

The AGP candidate, a former Assam Jatiyabadi Yuve Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) president, Bhattacharya is on the other hand confident that he will emerge victorious.

The young Bhattacharya exuded confidence that frustrated by both the BJP at the Centre and Congress in the state, the sizeable number of Bodo tribal population and the trea tribe community will this time vote for the AGP.

There are altogether 1438 polling stations in the constituency of which 925 have been listed as "sensitive" and 513 "safe", according to election office sources.

To maintain law and order, the army will remain as a standby while the police will remain in charge during polling.

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