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Campaigning gets hotter for by–elections

SILCHAR, September 6: Perhaps keeping tune with the heat and dust of summer, the campaigning for the by–elections for Silchar and Lakhipur gets hotter with a beeline of star campaigners of Congress, BJP and AIUDF, joining the race for boosting up the prospect of their candidates. The battle seems tough, considered against the force and vehemence with which the parties in reckoning in particular have thrown in all their punch and weight to beat one another.
Though under the shadow of ‘model code of conduct,’ no posters, banners or graffiti of significance, propagating the party manifesto and candidate’s winnability on merits come to notice, the milieu around brings to the fore all the hoi–polloi associated with an election. Crisscrossing the urban, semi–urban and rural areas of Silchar and Lakhipur, the vehicles and convoy of candidates whiz past one another to reach the destinations of their rallies and meetings.
A by–election, in fact, has taken the shape of a grand general election. Every party and its leadership that count in this race have taken it as a testing ground for the coming Assembly elections of 2016 which is considered crucial as the next government at Dispur has to be different in understanding the burning issues of the State and also evolve a strategy for their solutions. Non Congress parties therefore have taken it as a challenge to end the misrule and misgovernance of the ruling party which has failed on all fronts.
It will not be an exaggeration to point out that the leaders campaigning for their party and candidates have been holding series of meetings to convey their message to the voters. And to reach all the electorates of both the constituencies, it is BJP which has heralded the poll campaign by Siddhartha Bhattacharjee, State president, who made it clear that the installation of a BJP government is not distant at Dispur. It is all serious to achieve the target of 84 plus. His campaign was followed by that of Sudhangshu Mittal, In–charge of Assam, Pradyut Bora, national executive member, Kamakhya Prasad Tasha, Rameshwar Teli, both MPs, Mriganka Barman, State Yuva Morcha president, and other leaders are to join and add grist to the mill of whipping up support for Dilip Paul and Sanjay Thakur, contesting for Silchar and Lakhipur seats.
Not to lag behind, Congress too has roped in their leaders for campaigning who till date include Mehdi Alam Bora, State chief spokesperson, Apurba Bhattacharjee, State spokesperson, Pawan Singh Ghatowar, former DoNER Minister, Prithvi Majhi, Minister of Labour, and the two valley based Cabinet Ministers, Gautom Roy and Ajit Singh. They have been holding rallies and meetings with more or less identical thrust on fulfilling the unfulfilled poll manifesto of the party to brighten the chances of Arun Dutta Mazumdar and Rajdeep Goala for Silchar and Lakhipur seats. Of course, their bete–noir BJP, the main rival, has been the prime target, raising questions about the promises made by Narendra Modi, Prime Minister, for Assam and North East in general for development.
AIUDF, another adversary to decide the fate of both the seats of Silchar and Lakhipur and the candidates set up, Noor Ahmed Barbhuiya and Mukesh Pandey, has its charismatic campaigner Badruddin Ajmal, MP, and chief of the party, who has in his two–day hurricane round campaigning covered the interior as well as heartland of Lakhipur and addressed two public meetings at Topkhana and Berenga, besides holding group and workers meets, in and around Silchar. Significantly, the areas chosen for public contact are the vote–banks of Congress. Sparing BJP, Badruddin Ajmal has been sharp and attacking in his speeches on the ‘divide and rule’ of Congress for the last 66 years and following a policy of discrimination and deprivation towards the minorities and backward classes.
He has been critical of Tarun Gogoi, Chief Minister, for skipping the crucial meeting convened by Sarbananda Sonowal at the behest of Union Minister of Highways and Roads, Nitin Gadkari, for the connectivity and other developmental issues. His party, AIUDF chief asserted would reach the target of 54 from the present tally of 18 to form the next government at Dispur to end the jungle raj of Congress.
So far for CPM candidate Dulal Mitra, the only State leader to campaign is Ananta Deka, who has addressed street corner meeting at Chamragodam and other places in and around Silchar. On Sunday, he is expected to meet the people in other areas of the town. His appeal has been to vote for the CPM candidate to raise the issues of this Barak Valley in the Assembly for their redressal. The party he reminded has been carrying on its relentless fight against corruption and for people’s causes outside the House. CPM has no candidate for Lakhipur. SUCI leadership here is yet to bring in any leader of significance to canvass for the candidates contesting for both the by–poll seats.
By and large, the developments and the feverish poll campaign indicate that on both the seats, the fight will be triangular involving Congress, BJP and AIUDF. The trends and swings too make it clear that it is the AIUDF which will ultimately decide the fate. Though the countdown is yet to begin with seven days left for the polling, the division in minority votes which are decisive caused by AIUDF will have the last say. (Source: SentinelAssam)