GUWAHATI: After last month’s municipal board and Rajya Sabha polls, political parties in Assam are now gearing up for the prestigious Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) election, which will be held on April 22.
The election, which was earlier scheduled on April 19, was postponed recently by the state election commission in view of the Bohag Bihu (Assamese New Year) celebrations, which will begin next week.
“We have put up 53 candidates while our ruling partner Asom Gana Parishad has fielded 7 candidates. Our campaigning is going on very well and judging by response of voters and performance in past polls, we are confident of winning all 60 wards,” said BJP spokesperson Rupam Goswami.
Election to GMC was last held in 2013 in which Congress had won 19 of the total 31 wards. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidates bagged 11 wards, and one was won by Asom Gana Parishad.
This time, the number of total wards has been increased to 60 and 50% of them have been reserved for women candidates. Counting of votes will take place on April 24.
A total of 200 candidates are in the fray for the 60 wards. Three candidates from the BJP (Wards 5, 6 and 22) have already won uncontested after withdrawal of nominations by 8 candidates earlier this week.
“We have fielded 55 candidates this time and most of them are young professionals with proven track records in their fields. Since it’s a municipal election, we are conducting door to door campaigns and are confident of doing very well,” said Manjit Kumar Mahanta, Congress spokesperson.
Despite being the largest city in northeast, Guwahati is besieged with a number of problems ranging from pollution, flash floods during monsoon and severe water scarcity during dry season. All parties and their candidates are promising to solve these problems and more if they win the coming polls.
One notable difference in this election is the sizeable presence of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which doesn’t have a widespread base among voters. The party managed to open its account in Assam last month by winning two wards in Lakimpur and Tinsukia of the municipal board elections.
“Our party has fielded 39 candidates for the GMC polls. Most of them are 30-35 years of age. The youngest candidate is a 24-year-old student pursuing a master’s degree. Our campaign is going well and the candidates are getting very positive response,” said AAP Assam unit president Bhaben Choudhury.
The BJP had swept the municipal board polls held in March by winning 759 of the total 977 wards. The party and its allies were able to wrest power in 75 of the total 80 municipal boards, which went to polls.
In the election for two Rajya Sabha seats held on March 31, the BJP won one seat while the other was bagged by ruling partner United Peoples’ Party Liberal (UPPL). Despite having the required numbers, the Congress candidate, who was backed by all opposition MLAs, failed to win one of the two seats, due to cross-voting by some legislators.