As the high-octane poll battle for the Assam polls heats up, the polling for the second phase will take place on Thursday between 7 am and 6 pm. A total of 39 seats spread across 13 districts of the Barak Valley, three hill districts and parts of Central and lower Assam. These constituencies are Ratabari, Patharkandi, Karimganj North, Karimganj South, Badarpur, Hailakandi, Katlichera, Algapur, Silchar, Sonai, Dholai, Udharbond, Lakhipur, Barkhola, Katigora, Haflong, Bokajan, Howraghat, Diphu, Baithalangso, Kamalpur, Rangiya, Nalbari, Panery, Kalaigaon, Sipajhar, Mangaldoi, Dalgaon, Udalgiri, Majbat, Jagiroad, Marigaon, Laharighat, Raha, Nowgong, Barhampur, Jamunamukh, Hojai and Lumding. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.
Dholai: Assam Environment Minister Parimal Suklabaidya will contest from Dholai for the 7th time on a BJP ticket. He has been elected as an MLA in 1991, 2001, 2006, and 2016. In the previous election, he wrested the seat from Congress that had fielded Girindra Mallik. While Mallik had trounced Suklabaidya in the 2011 polls by 14,370 votes, 2016 witnessed the BJP candidate defeating him by a huge margin of 26,837 votes. In the current election, the other contenders include Congress' Kamakhya Prasad Mala and Assam Jatiya Parishad's Ram Ratan Dusad.
Panery: Falling under the Mangaldoi Lok Sabha segment, the Panery constituency is a part of the Kamrup district. Interestingly, BJP has fielded Rajya Sabha MP Biswajit Daimary from this seat. A one-term MLA, Daimary was a member of the Upper House belonging to the Nagaland People's Front until November 2020 when he defected to the JP Nadda-led party. In February 2021, he was re-elected to the Rajya Sabha. Panery was won by Kamali Basumatari of BPF in the 2016 Assembly polls while the runner-up was Independent candidate Nanda Ram Baro. It is pertinent to note that BPF joined the Congress-led Mahajot alliance in the lead-up to the Assembly election. BPF's Karuna Kanta Swargiary is the key challenger to Daimary.
Katigora: 6-time MLA Gautam Roy is contesting as the BJP candidate from Katigora in the Cachar district. The 72-year-old politician represented the Katlichera constituency continuously from 1985 to 2016 and even served in ex-CM Tarun Gogoi's Cabinet. However, he suffered a shocking defeat to AIUDF's Suzam Uddin Laskar in the previous election. After the Congress party suspended him for anti-party activities, he joined the saffron party in 2019. In the 2016 polls, BJP's Amar Chand Jain had defeated AIUDF's Khalil Uddin Mazumder with a slender margin of over 8,000 votes. On this occasion, Jain was shifted to Katlichera while Roy was asked to contest from here. Additionally, Khalil Uddin Mazumder is fighting the polls on a Congress ticket.
Jamunamukh: Considered an AIUDF stronghold, Jamunamukh shall see a direct faceoff between Asom Gana Parishad's Sadik Ullah Bhuyan and AIUDF's Sirajuddin Ajmal. The latter is the brother of AIUDF supremo and Lok Sabha MP Badruddin Ajmal. Garnering 42.57% of the vote share in the 2016 polls, AIUDF's Rahim Ajmal beat Rejaul Karim Chowdhury by over 13,000 votes. Incidentally, Sirajuddin Ajmal had comfortably won this seat in 2011 when Chowdhury contested as a Congress candidate. TMC's Rezwan Ahmed, AJP's Bodrul Haque and JD(U)'s Jahirul Islam Laskar are also in the poll fray.
Karimganj North: Located in the Karimganj district, this seat falls under the Karimganj Lok Sabha segment. While BJP fielded Dr. Manash Das, Congress has renominated its sitting MLA Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha. The Sonia Gandhi-led party faces an uphill task to retain this seat as BJP had come very close in the 2016 polls when its candidate Mission Ranjan Das lost by less than 500 votes to Purkayastha. The latter had achieved the same result by defeating Das in the 2011 election with a victory margin of more than 17,000 votes.