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Polling picks up as weather improves

Written by: Staff

Guwahati, Apr 3: Polling in the first phase for the 65 assembly constituencies in Asom is picking up with the weather improving as the day progressed.

So far there were no reports of any untoward incidents in the state with the people casting their franchise freely and fearlessly after two decades of violence.

Already long queues were seen in the polling booths of Guwahati.

Similar reports dropped in from Upper Asom and Barak valley.

The weather improved in the last few hours removing doubts of playing a spoilsport in the polling process.

But there were reports of an overcast sky in some parts of Upper Asom.

As many as 92,07,504 voters would exercise their franchise in 9723 polling stations to decide the fate of 515 candidates.

Electronic voting machines were used for the first time in all the constituencies during an Assembly election in the State.

Of the 65 Assembly seats, 34 are in upper Assam, 15 in the Barak Valley, 10 in Kamrup district, 3 each in Morigaon district and Hojai subdivision of Nagaon.

Security arrangements have been tightened in all the constituencies which have gone for polls.

With the militant groups staying away from the election process, the polling is expected to be peaceful.

Out of the 9,723 booths in the phase, 1,797 have been identified as very sensitive and 3,227 as sensitive.

Altogether 300 additional companies of central forces have been deployed in the constituencies.

The run-up to the election was marked by absence of violence as the People's Consultative Group, formed by the United Liberation Front of Asom, is engaged in peace talks with the Centre.

The ULFA, for the first time, abstained from calling a poll boycott and announced that it would maintain distance from all political parties.

The ULFA also appealed to people to vote for parties committed to the issue of Asom's ''sovereignty''.

The second and last phase of polls in Assam would be held on April 10.


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