Lok Sabha elections 2019: NRC, citizenship bill row may shape polls
Polling will be held for the remaining four out of Assam’s 14 Lok Sabha and one of Tripura’s two seats in the third phase of the ongoing national elections on Tuesday.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had won one of the four Assam seats — Gauhati — in 2014. The BJP’s allies, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and Bodo People’s Front (BPF), are contesting Barpeta, Dhubri and Kokrajhar seats going to polls on Tuesday.
Over 7.4 million people are eligible to vote in Assam in the third phase while 54 candidates are in the fray.
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BJP’s Queen Oja is up against the Congress’s Bobeeta Sharma in Gauhati. In Dhubri, All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) chief, Badruddin Ajmal, is seeking re-election. He is up against AGP’s Javed Islam and Congress’s Abu Taher Bepari.
Pramila Rani Brahma, a minister in Assam’s BJP-led government, is the BPF candidate from Kokrajhar, where Naba Sarania, an independent candidate, had won in 2014. Sarania is seeking re-election while the Congress’s Sabda Rabha and United People Party (Liberal) candidate, Urkhao Gwra Brahma, are also in the fray.
Muslims account for nearly 79% of the total voters in Dhubri and 70% in Barpeta.
“The National Register of Citizens [NRC], which left out nearly 40 lakh applicants, in its final draft in July and the Citizenship Amendment Bill would be important issues...,” said political observer, Samudra Gupta Kashyap.
Indigenous groups in Assam have opposed the bill saying it would encourage more Hindus from Bangladesh to settle in Assam.
Polling will also be held for East Tripura seat in the third phase. It was supposed to go to the polls on April 18, but voting was deferred on security grounds.
Communist Party of India (Marxist)’s Jitendra Chaudhury, the BJP’s Rebati Tripura, and the Congress’s Pragya Deb are among those in the fray.