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Why is the third phase important for Congress in the Assam Election 2021?

GUWAHATI: The 40 constituencies in 16 election districts of Assam spread across Lower Assam and Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) that have gone to poll in the third phase of Assam Assembly Elections today have traditionally been a deciding factor for any party to form the government in Assam.

In the last Assam assembly elections, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress won the same number of seats, 11 each.

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Following the trail, Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) stood second with eight seats, All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) bagged 6 and 4 seats respectively.

In the 2016 elections, Congress and AIUDF were sole players, while BPF and AGP were in alliance with the BJP to sweep the third phase with 23 seats.

But this time, the dynamics have changed completely. The second and third position holder parties of last assembly polls BPF and AIUDF have joined hands with the Congress-led Mahajath (Grand Alliance).

On the other hand, BJP joined hands with the newly formed United People’s Party-Liberal (UPPL), the party that won 12 seats out of 40 in the BTC election last year, and its previous ally AGP.

It is worth mentioning that 14 out of 40 seats are minority community-dominated which fall under BTR. And till the last election in BTC, which was held in the month of November, BPF emerged as the single largest party with 17 seats out of 37.

Over the past three elections Congress has been winning 11 seats constantly from the third phase and maintained higher vote sharing than any other party. Thus, its position seems to be firm than the others.

BJP also gained approximately 11 per cent more vote share in 2016 than the past. And now, BJP is with UPPL the incumbent of BTC as well.

The incumbent BJP-led alliance’s 6 ministers are in the fray, including BJP’s firebrand Himanta Biswa Sarma and AGP’s invincible candidate Phani Bhushan Choudhury.

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In the last election, though the Congress had the most number of vote share, BJP had swept the most number of seats, as many as 6 out of 16, by a huge margin too.

On the other hand, BJP ally AGP’s vote share is declining with each passing election which stood at 10.6 per cent in 2016 although Congress ally AIUDF had seen a dip of approx 2 per cent, still at a higher place than AGP with 16.8 per cent.

Keeping all these factors in mind, it is clear that the Congress-led grand alliance has the greater vote share in the third phase. But the undeniable factor is that all the parties have seen a dip in vote share in the last election and it directly fell into the BJP’s lap which had seen a leap from 8 per cent in 2011 to 19.9 per cent in Assam assembly election 2016. If the trend continues then it is enough to topple Congress’ all equation and their so-called Mission 101 too.

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