More than 40% of the 95 lakh voters exercised their franchise amidst tight security till midday, during polling for the remaining 61 of the 126 Assam Assembly constituencies on Monday.
First time voters and others were seen queuing up from 3 am at several of the 12,699 polling stations, though voting began at 7 am, as scheduled. Many of them were keen to win the medal given by the district administration to the first two voters to encourage voting.
CRPF fired in the air at a polling station at Chaygaon following protest over a jawan of the central force allegedly “misbehaving” with a pregnant voter there. The situation was, however, brought under control and voting continued there uninterrupted, district Superintendent of Police Prasanta Saikia said, adding, no one was injured, even though locals claimed four persons were hurt as they ran when the firing took place.
Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in some polling centres were reported to have malfunctioned, thereby briefly halting voting but once they were replaced the polling continued uninterrupted, the election office said.
CCTV camera and web casting facilities were also arranged by the election office for free and fair polling.
Among the 95,11,732 people eligible to cast their franchise, 50,44,051 are women. Shiva Thapa, India’s boxer from Assam, cast his vote along with his family. Thapa said he took time off to vote, from his ongoing training outside Assam, since participating in the democratic process “is a big responsibility for each one of us and all should come out to vote”.
The electoral destiny of cabinet ministers Rakibul Hussain, Chandan Sarkar and Nazrul Islam from Congress, besides former Chief Minister and AGP leader Prafulla Kumar Mahanta will be decided on Monday.
Sidhartha Bhattacharya, the national spokesman of BJP that has an electoral alliance with AGP and Bodo Peoples Front (BPF), former Congress minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma who had led a dissidence against Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi before leaving Congress to join the BJP last year, are among the leaders in the fray in this second and last phase.
Among the 477 male and 48 female contestants, 57 are from the Congress, 35 from the BJP, its allies AGP 19 and BPF 10, 47 AIUDF, nine CPI(M), five CPI, 129 from other parties and 214 independents.
Over 50,000 persons were manning the polling booths along with security personnel. Security measures were intensified along the international boundary with Bangladesh and Bhutan.
AGP’s Prafulla Kumar Mahanta along with his wife and former MP Dr Jayashree Mahanta, BPF chief Hagrama Mohilary and his wife, AIUDF president Badruddin Ajmal who claims that he will be the “king-maker” in the formation of the next government, also cast their vote.
The first phase of polling in the state on April 4 had witnessed an 82.20% voter turnout in 65 of the 126 Assembly constituencies spread across upper Assam, two hill districts and the Barak Valley.