BeyondHeadlines Special Correspondent
Guwahati, Assam: Quick, energetic and active turnout is being witnessed today in the second and final phase of elections for 64 assembly constituencies in Assam, with an estimated 22 percent of voters exercising their franchise in the first three hours.
Amid tight security, people cast their votes in 11,589 polling stations where polling began at 7 a.m. to decide the electoral fate of 496 contestants, election office sources, adding voting has been peaceful.
Problems with electronic voting machines (EVMs) in Mancachar, Berhampur, Guwahati East, Jagiroad, Nalbari and Lumding constituencies were reported but they were soon rectified and voting continued uninterrupted, the sources said.
Polling was brisk with long lines of voters at the booths, the sources said, adding that people lined up from 5.30 AM at some places.
The weather being good, voters came out in large numbers to cast their votes, creating a festive atmosphere at the polling stations.
The first three hours saw more women turning out to vote. First time voters, who were excited over the prospect of exercising their franchise, said they wanted a corruption—free clean government.
Tension prevailed at a polling station at Mazbat in Udalguri district over alleged manhandling of a woman by policemen who were trying to ensure that voters stand in a queue.
Security arrangements had been stepped up in the 64 constituencies having an electorate of 9.7 million with over 40,000 police and paramilitary persons deployed at the polling stations even though there were no insurgent activities in the run up to the polls.
Among the prominent candidates whose fate will be sealed today are Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) Chandra Mohan Patowary, two-time former chief minister and senior AGP leader Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, Congress ministers Himanta Biswa Sarma and Rockybul Hussain, besides at least 41 women candidates.
The other contestants include two—time chief minister and now revenue minister Bhumidhar Barman, his cabinet colleagues Akon Bora, Gautam Bora, Nazrul Islam as well as Pramila Rani Brahma and Chandan Bora from their ally Bodoland Peoples Front.
The voters from a tea estate in Morigaon cast their votes wearing black arm bands protesting non—fulfilment of their demands.
The first phase of polling for 62 of the 126 assembly constituencies was held on April 4 with a high voter turnout of nearly 74 per cent.