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Campaigning reaches crescendo in Goalpara
 GOALPARA, April 8 - A confusing and hazy picture is emerging in all the four Legislative Assembly Constituencies in the district, namely 36 Dudhnoi (ST), 37 Goalpara (East), 38 Goalpara (West) and 39 Jaleswar. as a sizeable section of voters are apathetic towards the political system which has never been able to address the genuine problems of the local people.

With barely two days left for the second phase of polls, there has been intense political campaigning as the leaders of various political parities are trying to woo the voters to their side to increase their winning prospects.

Major political parties like the Congress, BJP and the AIUDF, besides some lesser known candidates are vying for attention by appealing to the voters with development mantras and corruption-free good governance. Also, door-to-door campaigning is gaining momentum.

Speaking to a cross-section of people in all these four Legislative Assembly constituencies, issues like unemployment, corruption and development have taken a back seat. Even though there is a deep sense of distrust on the promises made by the political leaders of various parties, it is evident that ethnicity and religion will be the determining factors for the electors when they come out to vote.

However, the picture in 37 Goalpara (East) Assembly constituency is not clear, but a four-cornered contest is shaping up with candidates like Gauranga Prasad Das (BJP), Abul Kalam Rasheed Alam (INC), Shadeed Mazumdar (AIUDF) and the rebel Congress candidate Abul Kalam Hussein (Independent) in the lead, besides Punam Chand Sharma (Lilu) (NPP) and Elbarth Marak (Trinamul Congress) set to make a dent on the winning prospects of some of these candidates.

In the 2011 Assembly polls, there was tough competition between the AIUDF and the AGP candidate. While the winning candidate from the AIUDF polled 36,353 votes, the AGP candidate got 34,511 votes. Others who registered a sizeable vote share were Shadeed Mazumdar- 23,580 (presently AIUDF candidate ), INC -19,898, Elbarth Marak-13,102 (presently Trinamul Congress), with the BJP poorly placed with 3,195 votes polled.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, 48,600 votes were polled in favour of the BJP, the highest in this Legislative Assembly segment, followed by AIUDF with 47,461 votes, and INC with 43,057 votes. But this Legislative Assembly segment is of significance to the Congress candidate as the party has lost the seat during the last four consecutive terms.

But a direct contest between the Congress and the BJP is on the cards in 36 Dudhnoi (ST) constituency, with BJP candidate Dipak Kumar Rabha on the ascendancy and providing a major challenge to the Congress incumbent, who is the sitting MLA Sibcharan Basumatary.

However, political sources told this correspondent that voting will take place on community lines with a majority of the Rabhas backing the BJP. But Kangkan Khakhalary (Independent) and rebel Congress candidate Deben Daimary will try to sabotage the prospect of both the front-runners, i.e., the BJP and the Congress candidates respectively.

According to figures of the last Assembly elections in 2011, there was a tough contest between the INC and the AGP, while the winning candidate from the INC polled 46,890 votes, followed by the AGP candidate with 40,873 votes, while the AIUDF could garner 21,003 votes, with an impressive 10,445 votes polled in favour of the BJP. Despite the anti- incumbency factor, support from the last year’s runners-up AGP candidate Diganta Rabha now in the Congress, besides support from the minority and Garo communities will decide the winning prospects of the Congress candidate.

However, a massive 70,020 votes polled in favour of the BJP, the highest-ever in the last 2014 Lok Sabha elections from this Assembly segment was followed by the INC with 40,288 votes and AIUDF with 17,875 votes.

But in 38 Goalpara (West ) Assembly constituency, a direct contest is likely between Congress candidate Abdur Rashid Mandal and the AIUDF candidate, who is incidentally the sitting MLA Sheikh Shah Alam, who is facing an anti-incumbency wave. Both are banking on the support of the majority Muslim community. Some voters opined that there is nothing new to be tested in this constituency, except that various candidates are trying to woo the voters with promises which are seldom kept.

In the 2011 Assembly polls, the winner AIUDF polled 37,800 votes, followed by AGP with 26,862 votes, INC with 22,261 votes and NCP with 19,154 votes. However, in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, AIUDF polled 46,017 votes, the highest in this Assembly segment, followed by INC with 36,195 and BJP with 27,318 votes polled. But it will be interesting to see the behaviour of the electorate with respect to BJP candidate Jabeen Barbhuiyan and AGP candidate Anowar Hussein.

Despite the claims and counter-claims of the major political parties, the AIUDF seems to be in an advantageous position in 39 Jaleswar constituency, with serious threats coming from the Congress party.

AIUDF candidate Sahab Uddin Ahmed and Congress party candidate Abul Fazal Nasir Uddin Mollah will fight it out in this predominantly minority community stronghold. During the 2011 Assembly polls, a majority of the votes were shared by the winning AIUDF candidate who polled 52,643 votes and the losing INC candidate who polled 35,847 votes.

Even though the trend remained the same during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, with the AIUDF occupying the top spot with 59,003 votes polled in their favour and followed by INC with 36,788 votes, however it is well nigh impossible to speculate at this point of time as to who will have the last laugh.

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