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Over 60 per cent turnout in Asom

Written by: Staff

Guwahati, Apr 3 (UNI) The first phase of Assembly elections to 65 seats in Asom ended on a peaceful note today with an estimated 60 per cent of 9.2 million electorate exercising their democratic right.

The remaining 61 constituencies would go to polls in the second phase on April 10.

Earlier in the morning, rain played spoilsport for voters in some parts of the state. However, the polling picked up towards the afternoon with the weather looking up.

Low polling was recorded in certain minority-dominated areas in Barak Valley and Central Asom. The voters were asked to produce any of the 23 documents as prescribed by the EC to identify themselves before casting their votes.

Reports from different parts of the state indicated that upper Asom constituencies reported the maximum turnout, while the urban area voters turned up in lesser numbers in the early hours of the day.

The three districts of Dhemaji, Dibrugarh, Tinsukia and Majuli river island had recorded the maximum polling till afternoon. In fact, Majuli recorded the highest polling figure with 69 per cent vote. Turnout in urban centers such as Guwahati (Sadar), Jorhat and Silchar had been comparatively low.

The Barak valley had also seen heavy turnout and in some constituencies like Lakhimpur, 60 per cent polling had already been recorded.

Asom Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi cast his vote in DCB College polling booth at Jorhat town. He was contesting from neighboring Titabor constituency in the district.

Polling was peaceful with no untoward incident reported from any part of the state.

The people were in a festive mood this time, exercising their ballot without fear. Since 1985, all elections in the state had been held under the shadow of violence. In the past two decades, people were used to voting under fear and intimidation.

Security arrangements had been tightened, and with the militant groups staying away from the election process, the polling this time was peaceful.

Out of the 9,723 booths in this phase, 1,797 had been identified as very sensitive and 3,227 as sensitive. Altogether 300 additional companies of central forces had been deployed in the constituencies.

As many as 92,07,504 voters would decide the fate of 515 candidates Of the 65 Assembly seats in the first phase, 34 are in Upper Asom, 15 in Barak Valley, 10 in Kamrup district, three each in Morigaon district and Hojai subdivision of Nagaon district.

Algapur constituency in southern Asom has the highest number of 25 candidates in the fray, while Titabor in eastern Asom, from where Mr Gogoi was contesting, has the lowest number of four candidates.

Today's poll will decide the fate of several heavyweights, including Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi (Titabor), Speaker Prithvi Majhi (Lahowal), state Congress president Bhubaneswar Kalita (Rangiya), former union minister Bijoya Chakraborty (Dispur) and several sitting MLAs.


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