Four Lok Sabha constituencies in Assam – Barpeta, Dhubri, Guwahati, and Kokrajhar – will go to polls in the third phase set to be held on May 7, bringing the curtains down for all 14 parliamentary seats in the State.
Ten seats in Assam had voted in the previous two phases that was held on April 19 and April 26.
These four seats are crucial for both BJP and Congress.
BJP, as part of its overall 400-seat target at the national level, will try to max out its seat tally in the state while on the other hand, the Congress party are targeting as many seats as possible at a time when the party state’s unit is in disarray.
In the last elections Guwahati was won by BJP while Barpeta was claimed by Congress. The minority stronghold of Dhubri is with AIUDF and Kokrajhar was won by independent parliamentarian Naba Sarania.
This time again, Guwahati and Dhubri are expected to be retained by the BJP and the AIUDF. However, Dhubri is set for a neck-to-neck fight between AIUDF and Congress. Some Congress leaders in Dhubri have voiced resentment against putting up “outsider” Rakibul Hussain whose home district is Nagaon. Hussain was a minister in the late Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government in the state.
Guwahati will see a contest between two women candidates – Bijuli Kalita Medhi of BJP and Mira Borthakur of Congress. If Borthakur wins, she would be the first woman Congress MP from this seat.
Borthakur, the President of Assam Mahila Congress, is vocal and strongly against the implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) by the BJP-led Central government.
“We are against this religious polarization,” she told ANI recently. “The people of Assam will not support CAA and they will vote against this government in Lok Sabha elections.”
Barpeta is headed for a close fight between Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) a BJP ally, and the Congress. A delimitation exercise of constituencies last year, which brought in some areas of the Guwahati constituency to Barpeta, may give an edge to the BJP in this seat which is otherwise a stronghold for Congress. Also, Congress’s incumbent Barpeta MP Abdul Khaleque, who was denied a party ticket to contest the elections, may dent the party’s prospects.
BJP’s ally AGP’s candidate Phanibhushan Choudhury, an eight-time MLA from Bongaigaon in lower Assam with a clean image has widespread appreciation among the voters.
In western Assam’s Kokrajhar, the fight will be between UPPL, another ally of the BJP, and Bodoland People’s Front, a former ally of the BJP and currently in Opposition.
Earlier, Kokrajhar incumbent MP Naba Sarania’s nomination paper was rejected by the returning officer, citing that his Scheduled Tribe (ST) certificate was found to be invalid.

Sarania, a former member of the banned United Liberation Front of Asom, represented Kokrajhar as an Independent since 2014. Kokrajhar is one of two seats in Assam reserved for the ST community, with the other being Karbi Anglong.
With Sarania out of the equation, BJP’s ally UPPL is seen as a strong contender in Kokrajhar.
Dhubri, a Lok Sabha segment, which is a stronghold of AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal, is expected to be comfortably retained by his party once again. He is a third-time MP from the constituency. Among other major contenders for this western Assam seat are BJP’s ally AGP and Congress, but both are likely to be distant second and third.
Muslim voters play a decisive role in this seat. As per the 2011 census, Muslims constitute about 80 per cent of the population in Dhubri district.
All India United Democratic Front (AIDUF) Chief Badruddin Ajmal, during his election campaign, said that he will be reopening 750 madrasas in Assam, after winning the Lok Sabha election.
“Absolutely, we will open 750 madrasas. The Uttar Pradesh government had announced to close madrasas, but the Supreme Court scolded them. On the basis of that reference, we will move to the Supreme Court and will bring the order. 750 madrasas have been closed in Assam and we will reopen those madrasas through the Supreme Court, but not through bullying,” Badruddin Ajmal said, speaking to ANI recently. The incumbent Assam government had closed or converted several state-run madrasas into general schools.
“Why did the government deprive lakhs of Muslim students to pursue education? Is it their right? Right to Education is our right. This is our right,” Ajmal argued.
The AIUDF leader also launched a no-hold-barred attack on Congress, asserting that the party has tortured the Muslims for 70 years and accused it of being the ‘B team’ of the BJP.
In fact, all four seats headed for polls in the third phase have sizable population of Muslim voters, and the BJP notably this time is trying to reach out to them. BJP which is trying to maximize its tally in the State is faced with an uphill task with minority voters being a significant factor. However, with the AIUDF and the Congress both vying for the minority vote the BJP could benefit from the division.
Assam chief minister upped his outreach and reiterated everyday in his campaign trail that Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government has treated all sections of the society equally and all its schemes and programs reached all communities, including Muslims.
On April 19, Himanta addressed a rally in Nagaon’s Dhing, where as per estimates Muslim voters are over 80 per cent in numbers. The rally saw thousands from the community coming and patiently hearing to the chief minister. Since then, in all election rallies, minority voters have been turning up in huge numbers.
Chief Minister Sarma believes that this time a significant portion of the Muslim votes will go in favour of his party BJP.
This Lok Sabha election in Assam, the BJP is contesting in 11 out of 14 seats, while its ally parties, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), are contesting in two seats (Barpeta and Dhubri) and UPPL in one seat (Kokrajhar), respectively.
In the Lok Sabha elections of 2014, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) secured 7 of the 14 seats in Assam. Both the Congress and the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) claimed three seats each. During the 2019 elections, the BJP increased its seat count to 9, while the Congress maintained its three seats, and the AIUDF won a single seat. (ANI)