Assam BJP
Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma waves to people during a poll programme in Majuli on Friday.

Guwahati: Amid the mudslinging indulged in by ruling and the Opposition parties ahead of the civic polls and by-election to the high-profile Majuli seat, the Assam BJP claimed that the people of the state have “already made up their mind to vote for development and progressive work.”

Addressing media persons here on Saturday, BJP Assam Pradesh spokesperson Pabitra Margherita asserted that the people of Majuli and the electorate across 80 Municipal Boards in the state have already made their minds to vote for development and progressive work.

He further requested the people to come out in large numbers and vote to make the democracy more vibrant, transparent and powerful.

Refuting allegations of MP Ajit Bhuyan on Assam government and BJP on the issues of regionalism, Margherita claimed that “Bhuyan had become an MP with the help of AIUDF, the party which owes is birth to the opposition of scrapping of IMDT Act.

“Bhuyan doesn’t have the right to speak anything about language, culture, history and regionalism of Assam. For the sake of gaining power and post, he has cheated the regional sentiments of Assamese people,” he alleged.

Nominated by the saffron party to ‘replace’ former Majuli MLA and former chief minister Sonowal, who vacated the seat after being elected to the Rajya Sabha last year, Bhuban Gam, a social worker and businessman from the Mising community, will be taking Congress-Raijor Dal backed candidate and former AASU leader, Chittaranjan Basumatary, from a regional party Assam Jatiya Parishad.

Union minister Sarbananda Sonowal campaigns for BJP candidate Bhuban Gam in Majuli on Sunday.

Margherita also took potshots at Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) and Raijor Dal, saying that the regional parties have “in a way surrendered in front of Congress by stitching a pre-bypoll coalition with Congress.

“The massive crowds in BJP rallies and only 300 or less in a ‘grand; rally at Majuli attended by the presidents of Congress, AJP and Raijor Dal signify the acceptability of the saffron party among the voters of Assam,” he claimed.

Rejecting Sibsagar MLA Akhil Gogoi’s allegations against Rupam Goswami, in charge of BJP Sivsagar district and BJP District Committee, of threatening Raijor Dal, Margherita claimed that such allegations were “baseless, hilarious and portray the escapist attitude of Akhil Gogoi which he adopts when the defeat is very clear and near.”

Himanta factor

The state BJP’s riposte comes after two back-to-back days of campaigning by Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in the river island, where he assured to address the decades-long erosion problem and work in tandem with the Brahmaputra Board to expedite anti-erosion work in the river island.

“I will personally oversee the ant-erosion work being done by the Brahmaputra Board soon. Given the dissatisfaction expressed by people over work done by the Board so far, I have directed the water resources department to also initiate measures to effectively mitigate the problem in the erosion-prone areas of Majuli,” the chief minister said.

The chief minister reminded the electorate that the decades-long demand of the people has been converted into reality with the start of work to construct the Jorhat-Majuli Bridge recently.

Geotubes laid on the Brahmaputra bank in Majuli as an anti-erosion measure.

“Work to build a bridge over the Brahmaputra connecting Majuli with Bihpuria in Lakhimpur will be initiated very soon,” he promised.

“Besides, 500 families from 12 villages will be provided land patta. The government will take up measures for educational development, health and hospital infrastructure development,” he said.

1,33,227 electors

Meanwhile, 1,33,227 electors will decide the fate of three candidates in the bypoll to Majuli Legislative Assembly constituency.

“The office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Assam has completed all arrangements for conduct of the ensuing bye-election in a free, fair, safe and peaceful manner. The Election Commission of India has already appointed election observers to keep strict vigil on law and order, expenditure etc,” an official statement said.

Further, to attract the citizens for casting their votes and to strictly follow COVID protocols in the polling stations, an awareness campaign is being conducted under SVEEP.

As a major push for conducting free and fair elections, live monitoring and webcasting have been arranged by the CEO, Assam for monitoring of poll day proceedings as per the ECI’s direction.

“Webcasting will be done in all the 203 polling stations (PS). Out of which 164 are main PS, and 39 are auxiliary PS. Through webcasting, the Election Commission of India, Chief Electoral Officer and District Election Officers will be able to monitor the polling process at PS, live on the polling day,” the statement said.

On the other hand, half section Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) is being deployed at each polling station location for security measures to ensure smooth conduct of the by-election.

In the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, ECI has taken every possible precautionary measure to ensure that all the polling stations follow COVID-19 safety protocols strictly for the safety of the voters and the election officials.

Every polling station will be sanitised, and the facility of thermal scanning, hand sanitisers, face masks are also made available at the polling stations.

Assured Minimum Facilities (AMF) like drinking water, waiting shed, toilet, adequate arrangement for lighting, wheelchairs for PwD electors are made available at all the polling stations.

Arrangements like transport facilities for elderly people, assistance from volunteers to PwDs and senior citizens are arranged at the polling stations.

Altogether, 812 polling personnel will be engaged and a total of 203 Ballot Units (BUs); 203 Control Units (CUs) and 203 VVPATs will be used.

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