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All major parties, both ruling and opposition, in Assam on February 26 welcomed the announcement of the schedule of the election to the 126-member assembly.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), as well as the opposition Congress and its ally All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) leaders said that they are fully prepared for the elections and now onwards, they would intensify their poll campaign.

BJP state president Ranjeet Kumar Dass said: “We are very much happy with the schedule announced by the Election Commission. The election dates would not disturb the Bohag Bihu festival (in mid-April) that the people of Assam could not celebrate last year owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

He said that the BJP had already started its campaign across the state and their workers at the grassroots are now in an election mood.

Assam Pradesh Congress president Ripun Bora said that his party is fully prepared to face the election and to oust the BJP and its allies from power.

“Our ‘bus yatras’ named ‘Axom Basaon Ahok’ (Let’s Save Assam) to reach out to the people before the elections and the anti-CAA (Citizenship (Amendment) Act) campaign has received tremendous and unprecedented response across the state,” Bora told the media.

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AIUDF president Badruddin Ajmal said that they wanted the polls to be held in at least two phases.

“We are satisfied that the EC would hold the election in three phases. The election schedule would not clash with the schedule of the examinations, Bihu and Ramzan. The EC’s decision to allow electorate over 80 years of age to vote from home is laudable. We are prepared for the polls,” he said.

According to the schedule announced by Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora in New Delhi on February 26, voting in Assam will be held in three phases on March 27, April 1 and April 6.

In all, 2,32,44,454 voters are eligible to cast their votes this time.

The Election Commission, in view of the COVID-19 SOPs, has announced that there shall be maximum 1,000 electors instead of 1,500 electors in a polling station. Accordingly, the number of polling stations in Assam increased to 33,530 (34.71 per cent increase) from 24,890 in 2016.

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