Joined-up photos show BJP’s Siddhartha Bhattacharya (left) and Congress’s Ashima Bardoloi campaigning on Tuesday. – UB Photos
GUWAHATI, March 30: Who will be the winner in 53-Gauhati East constituency – the only fully-urban Legislative Assembly Constituency (LAC) of Assam – where elections will be held in the third phase?
Eight candidates – Ashima Bardoloi (Congress), Raj Prasad Saikia (NPP), Siddhartha Bhattacharya (BJP), Adip Kumar Phukan (AJP), Pranab Jyoti Das (RPI), Bapi Aich (BGP), Bhupen Sarma (AIFB) and Mitali Deka Devi (LJP) – are in the fray in the LAC.
As many as 2,39,508 voters, including 1,18,385 male, 1,21,112 female and 11 transgender voters, will decide the fate of the candidates by exercising their franchise at 353 polling stations.
Although located in the heart of the capital city, common voters of the LAC are reeling under a number of problems. Especially, lack of adequate arrangement of potable water is a long-standing issue of the constituency as the mega water supply projects are yet to be completed.
At the same time, the execution of the smart city project has also remained on paper to a large extent. The long list of issues also include frequent waterlogging during rainy season, severe traffic congestion on every road, lack of proper drainage and sewerage, etc.
The main contest is likely to take place between the BJP, Congress and AJP i.e., sitting MLA and Guwahati Development Department minister Siddhartha Bhattacharya, senior journalist and AJP leader Adip Kumar Phukan and Congress candidate Ashima Bardoloi.
In the previous election in 2016, 12 candidates were in fray and BJP candidate Siddhartha Bhattacharya had a landslide victory with 1,27,602 votes. Bhattacharya had defeated Congress leader Bobbeeta Sharma by a margin of 96,637 votes.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Bhattacharya said he is optimistic about getting a good result in the election with more vote share than in the previous election.
“In the past five years, the BJP-led government has brought tremendous change to East Gauhati LAC. As an MLA, I revived the work of water supply project and it is now near completion. Moreover, in the next five years, our government will very cautiously implement the smart city project too,” he said.
AJP’s Adip Kumar Phukan said the Gauhati East voters supported the anti-CAA movement and they are going to revive the fort of regionalism in the election.
“The present government did nothing for the common voters of the constituency. Although they are living in a city, they are deprived of basic civic facilities, including potable water. Artificial floods, traffic congestion etc., are also some serious issues of the constituency which have not been addressed by either the Congress or the BJP. Especially, people residing in the 11 hills located in the constituency have remained neglected a lot,” Phukan said.
He said his fight would be directly with the BJP candidate and common voters would help him win.
Meanwhile, Congress candidate Ashima Bardoloi claimed that the present MLA had always remained far away from the common people in the past five years, so this the time voters will not accept him.
“Voters of the constituency want an MLA with whom they can communicate at any moment in need. Most voters alleged that the present MLA was not available during their times of need in the past five years. Moreover, during his tenure the present MLA did nothing significant to address the issues of the voters. He only constructed two or three roads, but that does not signify real development. Actually the development of the constituency was at a complete standstill during the BJP rule. So this time my victory is almost certain,” Bardoloi said.