After the first phase of polling in Assam on Monday, the BJP has expressed confidence that the party would come to power and form a government - with their alliance partner - in a state that the BJP claims has been simmering with "clear anger" against 15 years of Tarun Gogoi's rule.
BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli told reporters:
"We are hoping BJP would be elected to office and our alliance will form the government. Indication today is that we might be able to open our account in this election".
"There is clear anger against 15 years of Gogoi's rule and against 10 years of having a prime minister (Manmohan Singh) from Assam".
"There is no excuse in Assam for lack of development when the centre and the state had Congress governments for minimum 10 years together".
Kohli said the vote share of the BJP has increased substantially:
"When we contest elections, government formation is a clear agenda. We have chief ministerial candidate and Himanta Biswa Sarma (former minister in the Gogoi cabinet) has joined the party and people from other parties joining the party is also a good indicator".
Besides Gogoi and Sonowal, the other candidates in the fray for the first phase of polling included, Atul Bora, the working president of Asom Gana Parishad - which has allied with BJP- Speaker Pranab Gogoi, BJP MP Kamakhya Prasad Tasa- who is pitched against the chief minister - and former Union Minister Paban Singh Ghatowar.
Assam saw a high turnout of 78.06 per cent of its 95,11,732 electorate in the first phase of the assembly polls held in 65 constituencies amid tight security.
-- With PTI inputs