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Campaigning ends for Assam bye-elections

As many as 31 candidates including independents are in the fray, whose fate will be decided by the electors on coming Saturday.

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Guwahati: High pitched electoral campaign spearheaded by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma himself and the opposition parties for five constituencies in Assam by-elections came to an end today.

As per the Election Commission of India (ECI) guidelines, the campaigning came to an end today at 5 pm 72 hours before the polls. The by-elections in the Gossaigaon, Bhabanipur, Tamulpur, Mariani, and Thowra Assembly Constituencies will take place on October 30. Counting of votes will be held on November 2.

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As many as 31 candidates including independents are in the fray, whose fate will be decided by the electors on coming Saturday.

The by-elections for the vacant Majuli seat, have yet to be scheduled because its representative, Union minister Sarbananda Sonowal, resigned from the assembly hours after the Election Commission announced the poll schedule.

Among prominent candidates who are in the fray are turncoats who joined BJP recently are Rupjyoti Kurmi for Mariani, Sushanta Borogohain from Thowra, Phanidhar Talukdar from Bhabinipur. While Congress has given candidates in both Mariani and Thowra constituency-both the seats were won by the Congress in the assembly elections.

For the ruling BJP, bye-elections has come as an opportunity to strengthen its presence in the 126 members Assam assembly.

BJP had won 60 legislators in the last concluded assembly polls but is down to 59 after the resignation of former chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who became a Rajya Sabha member.

If all the three candidates win the by polls the ruling party will take its tally to 62- short of simple majority mark by two seats. BJP with its alliance partners United People Party Liberal (UPPL) and Asom Gana Parishad stormed back to power in Assam with 75 seats in the March-April month concluded assembly elections.

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma who was reprimanded by the ECI for violating model code of conduct ran an aggressive campaign in all the five constituencies. He addressed several rallies and urged people to vote for the party in power.

Meanwhile, opposition Congress and Raijor Dal, a party led by activist Akhil Gogoi also tried to lure voters through door to door campaigning and rallies.

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