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Parties gear up for BTC polls

A BJP election campaign meeting in Gossaigaon on Thursday. – UB Photos
 KOKRAJHAR, April 2 – Political parties of the State, both regional and national, are pulling up their socks for the election in the BTC area, which is scheduled for April 8.

National political parties, like the Congress, BJP and AIUDF, have already become active as they have started their search for suitable candidates who can help them capture power in the Sixth Schedule area.

It may be mentioned here that the last two BTC elections saw tough fights between the Hagrama-led BPF and the Rabiram-led BPPF, although the BPF won the last two elections and ruled two successive terms.

The BTC election this time may lead to a coalition government as there are a large number of candidates in the fray with either direct or indirect support from various socio-political organisations and national and regional parties.

It is premature to guess a clear mandate for any one person or for any particular political party at this stage, particularly because the new political parties contesting the elections this time are yet to reach out to the sentiments of the voters. The voters are particularly confused as they have never witnessed this kind of contest with so many contestants in this region in the recent past.

It may be mentioned here that in the 12 constituencies in Kokrajhar district alone, there are as many as 88 candidates in the fray. Of these, 12 are contesting under BPF, 12 under the Congress, 12 BJP, 12 PCDR, 4 under AIUDF, one under AGP, while the remaining candidates are Independents.

The Congress and the BJP are contesting this election without any alliance, probably with the intent to prepare a strong ground for the ensuing Assembly election to be held next year.

Meanwhile, a series of election campaigns have been launched in the BTC area. There are already reports of sporadic incidents of poll-related clashes across party lines over opening of party booths at strategic places.

However, in order to keep the situation under control, the Kokrajhar district administration has imposed several restrictions, banning campaigning in remote areas after 7 pm and in urban areas after 8 pm, selling of liquor between 2 pm to 8 pm, storing of liquor/wine in any party offices, restriction on pillion riding in two-wheelers, etc.

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