Assam polls: People looking forward to welfare and development

Guwahati (Assam) : The people cast their votes with high hopes in the first phase of the Assam Assembly polls expecting that the new government would work for the welfare of the state and provide employment opportunities to the youth

“As youth, we want our problems to be heard by the government at the earliest possible. Because of lack of jobs, we are forced to opt for further studies or look for employment outside the state. So, we want jobs to be available easily in Assam,” said a youth from Dibrugarh.

Manoj Kumar Baruah, a voter from Majuli, expressed his delight over the BJP announcing Union Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs Sarbananda Sonowal as the chief ministerial candidate and said the people want change.

“This is the biggest river island in the world and for the first time, we have got a BJP chief ministerial candidate Sarbananda Sonowal. People from both upper and lower Majuli are happy. We will celebrate this happiness by celebrating ‘Bihu’, our main festival. We feel Sonowal will win,” he said.

Dolly Baruah, a voter from Jorhat, also voiced his support for Sonowal and called for a stable government for development of Assam.

“Quality of leadership should be the main concern of administration and we are hoping that the candidate that we have chosen for our constituency will win. We will certainly make him win this time and he will surely bring development. He will fulfill all our hopes,” he said.

The people queued up amid tight security outside polling stations in Assam earlier on Monday to cast their votes in the first phase of the assembly elections.

Voting took place in 65 of the total 126 constituencies in the state, spread across Upper Assam, the hill districts, the northern banks and the Barak Valley.

There were as many as 12,190 polling booths to decide the fate of 539 candidates.

Tarun Gogoi-led Congress, which has been in power in Assam for the last 15 years, is facing a tough fight from the BJP which has joined hands with the regional Assam Gana Parishad (AGP) to make a formidable alliance.

Gogoi, however, appeared confident of forming the government yet again and said the voter turnout has been the same this time.

“Once we had about 76 percent turnout. In 2011, it was 79 percent and in 2006 it was low at 53. So, the turnout has been the same all along,” he said.

As the ruling Congress struggles to maintain its winning streak in Assam, the BJP is leaving no stone unturned in their efforts to overthrow the Gogoi-led government.

Sonowal, who cast his vote in Dibrugarh, said that the BJP would provide development to all.

“Land Boundary Agreement has already been signed and now border will be permanently sealed, and also NRC will be prepared and that way the protection of the bonafide Indian citizens living in Assam for centuries together, that would be ensured, and also the growth and development is what people want right now and we will work on it,” he said.

The people from all sections participated in the electoral process in Dibrugarh with great enthusiasm. The young voters were seen in large numbers queuing up since morning to cast their votes.

A large number of voters turned out in Majuli and Jorhat. More than 80 percent turnout was recorded in Jorhat district that includes three assembly constituencies namely Dergaon, Jorhat and Teok.

Majuli witnessed the maximum percentage of voter turnout with 88 percent, while Titabor and Mariyani constituencies recorded 85 and 84 percent respectively.

The second phase of Assam polls will be held on April 11. The result will be announced on May 19. (ANI)