GUWAHATI: The ruling BJP and its allies are confident of winning 42 out of the 47 seats in the first phase, saying the voter percentage indicates pro-incumbency mandate. The voters believe in the development pitch of the saffron party. While the Congress says it will win at least 17 seats, claiming the voting turnout shows people have voted for the opposition parties. Till 9 pm on Saturday, 76.89% polling was recorded.
In the first phase there are 47 seats in Upper Assam mostly inhabited by indigenous communities and the biggest concentration of tea garden voters who will decide the fate of the candidates in as many as 27 seats. The Congress won nine seats in 2016 without an electoral ally while the BJP-AGP won 35.
The ruling BJP this time also said they will win most of the seats, claiming BJP and its allies will win 42 seats. “The Assam assembly poll results will be a mandate for hope, aspiration and development. My vote is for the protection of sabhyata (civilization), sanskriti (culture) and the overall development of Assam,” Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal said after voting. BJP spokesperson Pabitra Margherita said that the turnout shows ‘pro-incumbency mandate’ mainly because of the welfare schemes and development of the BJP government. “This election in Assam will be determined by the issues of development and protection of cultural identity, which can be provided only by the BJP. The corruption free administration of the BJP is also an attraction,” said Margherita.
Assam Congress president Ripun Bora told TOI that the upper Assam region, despite being the weakest link of the Grand Old Party, the Congress will sweep the first phase polls as the party received a very positive and spontaneous response.
“A miracle will happen,” Bora said, claiming that the party will win 35 seats in the first phase. The Rajya Sabha MP also said that the turnout is a mandate against the BJP and people want a change of the BJP government. “It is clear from the turnout that the voters have decided that if they do not come out in large numbers they will not be able to oust the BJP.
The two new regional parties, the Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) and its ally the Raijor Dal, said the turnout suggests there is an anti-incumbency feeling against the saffron party.