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    Assam Panchayat elections: 65 per cent turnout recorded

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    Guwahati, Dec 5: Assam recorded more than 65 per cent turnout in the panchayat elections held in 16 districts that went to polls in the first phase on Wednesday.

    Chief Electoral Officer of Assam H N Bora told reporters that the percentage was expected to rise by another 10 per cent by the time of the final data accumulation. He added that in a few districts, like Lakhimpur, there could be re-polling.

     The first phase of the elections will decide the fate of over 43,515 contestants for 15,899 various posts in rural bodies.

     Voting underway at a polling booth in Guwahati. Courtesy: ANI news

    The ruling BJP, the Asom Gana Parishad, the Congress, the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), and All India Trinamool Congress (AITMC) are in a tight battle.

    Polling has begun at 7 am and continue till 3 pm in the districts of Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Tinsukia, Dibrugrah, Sivasagar, Charaideo, Jorhat, Majuli, Golaghat, Nagaon, Biswanath, Sonitpur, Darrang, Morigaon, Kamrup Metro and Kamrup, which together comprise 27 election districts, Assam State Election Commission (ASEC) sources told PTI.

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    Among the contestants, 796 are in fray for 251 zila parishad (district panchayat) member seats, 3,799 for 1,304 anchalik panchayat (intermediate panchayat) member seats, 4,155 for 1,304 gaon panchayat (village panchayat) president posts and 34,765 for 13,040 gaon panchayat member seats, the sources said.

     Ruling allies--BJP and the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP)-- are fighting local bodies polls in the state separately and the campaigning witnessed high-octane war of words between them.

    Also read: Assam Police's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' post to curtail fake news is winning the internet

    AGP, which has publically opposed the Citizenship Bill, 2016, used Citizenship Bill as one of their main campaign issue in the three-tier panchayat elections in the state.

    The counting of votes will take place on December 12.

    Altogether 442 candidates have already been declared winners uncontested in the election districts going to polls Wednesday, they said, adding, 250 of them are from the BJP, 106 from the Congress, 15 from the AGP, three from the AIUDF, three from the BPF, besides 65 independents.

    Over one lakh security personnel have been deployed for the smooth conduct of the elections during the first phase, with 1,56,255 civil servants also engaged in the poll process, the ASEC sources said.

    (WIth PTI inputs)

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