India’s Longest Bridge Fires Up Political Debate Ahead Of Voting In Assam

India's Longest Bridge Fires Up Political Debate Ahead Of Voting In Assam

More than 81 lakh voters of four seats are eligible to exercise their franchise on May 7.


As voters in Dhubri, Assam, prepare for the May 7 elections, the construction of the longest river bridge in India has taken centre stage in political campaigns. The bridge, which will span the Brahmaputra River, is set to connect Dhubri in Assam with Phulwari in Meghalaya, reducing travel time and easing trade and communication between the two states.

The 20-kilometre-long bridge, expected to be completed by 2027, has become a critical issue in the triangular electoral contest involving the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), the Assam Gana Parishad (AGP), and the Congress party. The foundation stone for the bridge was laid in 2021, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi officiating the ceremony.

Residents, including students, businessmen, and everyday commuters, have expressed enthusiasm for the bridge, citing the challenges posed by the current boat transportation system. Presently, travelling across the Brahmaputra by boat can take three to four hours, with significant disruptions during the monsoon season. The new bridge is expected to cut the travel distance between Dhubri and Phulwari by around 200 kilometres, streamlining trade and other essential activities.

A resident said, “If the bridge gets built, the benefit will be that we can reach Meghalaya in a much shorter time. It will make things easier for businesses since transporting goods on boats is very challenging. With the bridge, it will be much easier. It takes three hours by boat, so this bridge will save a lot of time.”

A student also shared his reviews, stating, “Once the bridge is completed, it will help us in a lot of ways, like in coordination because it takes a long time to travel by boat, approximately 3 hours. Also, it’s a huge river, which is dangerous too. Dhubri and Meghalaya, both states, will benefit from this bridge.”

The bridge’s significance has become a central theme in the electoral campaigns of the three competing parties. Each party claims credit for initiating or championing the project, with differing narratives on its origins. Javed Islam of the AGP, an ally of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), emphasised the role of the current central government, stating, “The NDA government started the work of this bridge. In 2021, Prime Minister Modi laid the foundation of this bridge, and the construction is progressing rapidly. It will be a significant gift for the people of Assam.”

Badruddin Ajmal, the AIUDF president and a three-time MP from Dhubri, asserted that the bridge was a result of his efforts, claiming, “I had raised this issue in Parliament during the Congress government and then during the BJP government, ensuring the people of Assam received this gift.”

The Congress party has also highlighted its contributions, mentioning the bridge in its campaign rallies to secure credit. Despite the political debate, the consensus among locals is that the bridge is essential and will significantly improve their quality of life.

While the competing narratives continue to unfold as election day approaches, the Dhubri Phulwari Bridge remains a beacon of hope for the people of Assam and Meghalaya, symbolising progress and connectivity in the region.

Campaigning for the third phase of polls in four parliamentary constituencies in Assam scheduled on May 7 ended on Sunday.

As many as 47 candidates, including one sitting MP and four sitting MLAs, are in the fray for the third phase of polls in five Lok Sabha seats: Guwahati, Kokrajhar, Barpeta and Dhubri in the state.

14 candidates are in the fray in Barpeta seat while, 13 candidates are contesting in Dhubri seat, 12 candidates in Kokrajhar, and 8 in Guwahati.

Sitting MP and AIUDF Chief Badruddin Ajmal is contesting from Dhubri seat against Congress candidate and former Minister Rakibul Hussain and AGP candidate Zabed Islam.

More than 81 lakh voters of four seats are eligible to exercise their franchise on May 7.

The second phase of polls in five parliamentary constituencies – Silchar, Karimganj, Diphu, Nagaon and Darrang-Udalguri was held on April 26 and the polling percentage was recorded at 81.17 per cent.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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