It’s back to the North-east, mainly, for the fourth phase of elections in India. Three constituencies in Assam, one in Sikkim and one in Tripura will vote on April 12, along with two constituencies in Goa, in western India.
In Assam, a Congress stronghold, the party is locked in fierce combat with the BJP, with the Asom Gana Parishad, the regional party fighting to stay in the race. The once powerful AGP, which rose out of student protest movement against immigration from Bangladesh, has been in terminal decline since 2000. Some of its members have switched sides to the BJP. The two parties were in an alliance in the 2009 elections. But the BJP, with its anti-immigrant platform, has felt confident of going it alone this time. The three constituencies where voting will take place on Saturday are Silchar, Karimganj and Autonomous District.
In Tripura East, a bastion of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the party is in a four-cornered contest with the Congress, BJP, and Trinamool Congress.
In Goa, where the BJP won the elections for state government in 2012, the party is bullish about a repeat in the two Lok Sabha constituencies. One of the main issues in Goa has been the ban on mining activity imposed by the BJP state government. The ban, imposed under pressure from environmental activists, has resulted in job losses. With a sizeable Christian population in Goa, the Catholic Church also plays an important role in the elections. This time the Goa Archbishop has appealed for a vote to “secular” parties. The BJP is perceived, especially by India’s minority communities, as a Hindu majoritarian party.
But the Goa chief minister, Mohan Parrikar, is popular and is reputed to be a “clean” politician, a rare commodity in India. The BJP is hoping to win both seats in Goa on the back of his image and the perceived sentiment in favour of the party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
In 2009, Congress won the South Goa constituency, while BJP took North Goa.
You can keep track of the key election dates and voting regions on our maps page here.