Over 49 percent of voters Monday cast their ballot in the first six hours of polling in five Lok Sabha constituencies in Assam, officials said.
Monday’s polling kick-stated the nine-phase 16th Lok Sabha polls in the country.
As balloting began from 7 a.m., people queued up at polling stations in the state’s five constituencies – Tezpur, Jorhat, Kaliabor, Dibrugarh and Lakhimpur. Brisk polling was seen barring a few booths where the process was delayed due to technical snags in the electronic voting machines (EVMs).
The overall polling percentage in the five constituencies was 49.64 percent till 1 p.m., Assam’s chief electoral officer said.
While 12 percent polling was recorded in the first two hours till 9 a.m., it went up to 36.44 percent by 11 a.m.
With 53.89 percent of polling, Tezpur recorded the highest voting so far among the five constituencies, followed by Kaliabor with 51.04 percent, Lakhimpur with 49.43 percent, Jorhat with 48.02 percent and Dibrugarh with 45.82 percent, the electoral office said.
Polling was peaceful in all the five constituencies, even as the day coincided with the ‘Raising Day’ of insurgent outfit United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA). Although there were no direct threats by the militants this time, police and security forces were deployed in strength to ensure smooth polling.
An estimated 6.4 million people were eligible to vote Monday for the five seats, which have a total of 51 candidates in the fray. The second phase of polling will be held April 12 in three of the state’s total 14 constituencies – Silchar, Karimganj and Diphu (autonomous district).
The third phase will be held April 24 in the remaining six constituencies – Gauhati, Barpeta, Nowgong, Dhubri, Kokrajhar and Mangaldai.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s son Gourav Gogoi, outgoing Congress MP Bijoy Krishna Handique, BJP state president Sarbananda Sonowal, and union ministers Ranee Narah and Paban Singh Ghatowar are among Monday’s prominent aspirants.