The first phase polling of Assam legislative Assembly elections covering 47 constituency across 12 districts ended with a voter turnout of 72.14 per cent recorded as of 6. 52 pm, according to the Election Commission.
Rupohihat constituency witnessed the highest voting percentage at 83 per cent while Sootea constituency saw the lowest voting percentage at 64 per cent, according to the latest trends.
An estimated 25.88 per cent of the total 81.09 lakh electors exercised their franchise till 11 am. While the polling so far has been peaceful, some complaints of EVM glitches were lodged, an Election Commission official said.
Long queues were seen outside polling booths with voters and election officials adhering to Covid protocols.
Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal exercised his franchise around 11 am at Sahitya Sabha Bhavan, a model polling station, in his home town Dibrugarh in upper Assam.
“The BJP and its alliance partners will win again and return to power in Assam. People have seen the performance of our government in the last five years,” he said after casting his vote.
Altogether 264 candidates, including 23 women, are in the fray in the first phase of the elections, he said.
Various political heavyweights ~Assembly speaker Hitendranath Goswami, State ministers Ranjit Dutta, Naba Kumar Doley, saffron legislators Angoorlata deka, Prasanta Phukan, Mrinal Saikia, Opposition leader Debrata Saikia, State Congress president Ripun Bora, Asom Gana Parishad president Atul Bora, Aaom Jatiya Parishad chief Lurinjyoti Gogoi, etc cast their votes in respective constituencies.
State chief electoral officer Nitin Khade informed that all steps were taken to conduct safe, smooth and peaceful polls in 11,537 polling stations, where 264 candidates of various political parties with many independents were in the fray. The authority deployed a large number of police and paramilitary forces to ensure a safe ambience for voters and the State borders were put under close monitoring by the security personnel.
The voter verifiable paper audit trails (VVPAT), along with EVM were used at every polling station. Moreover, following the pandemic guidelines, the authority allowed maximum 1,000 electors in a polling station. The option of postal ballot facility was already extended to the electors who are infected with the Covid , those with disabilities, above 80 years of ages, etc. First voters in many polling stations were greeted with saplings and ‘Gamosa’, a traditional handwoven Assamese scarf. Women officials are exclusively conducting the exercise in 479 polling stations.
RGI turns down Assam govt’s request to financially support pending NRC work beyond 31 March:
The Registrar General of India (RGI) has turned down a request of the Assam government to continue financial support for completing pending work of the NRC beyond March 31 this year. Taking strong exception to the “inordinate delay” in completion of the entire exercise, the office of the RGI in a letter suggested to the state government to terminate the services of “surplus staff” and hand over the workload to government staff, besides shift the NRC office to a government building.
In a letter on 4 March, the Assam government had sought an additional Rs 3.22 crore per month beyond 31 March for completion of the pending NRC activities in addition to the allocated Rs 1,602.66 crore for the entire project.