India began its tryst with the 16th Lok Sabha. About 75 per cent of the total 64.4 lakh voters exercised their franchise in the Congress-held constituencies of oil and tea belts of Assam. An 85 per cent of 12.46 lakh electorate turned out in Tripura (West).
Strict security arrangements were in place in Assam, in view of today being the banned ULFA’s ‘foundation day’, but the polling passed off without any hitch.
Voting was held with Electoral Photo Identity Cards (EPIC) for the first time in the state. Those who did not receive their EPICs could vote by producing alternative valid photo identification proof.
The actual voting percentage figure is expected to be released by the Election Commission later after compiling the data from all the polling stations.
Even as polling came to a formal end at 1700 hrs, people were still lined up before stations. People were seen lining up in polling stations as soon as voting commenced at 0700 hrs and the trend gradually picked up as the day progressed.
Voters came out in large numbers, with the encouragement of pleasant weather. Snags developed in Electronic Voting Machines at several places.
While voting resumed in most booths after correction of the EVMs, re-polling is likely in some.
The schedule for repolling is expected to be announced later today.
Candidates were among the early voters in their respective booths as they queued up with the people.
Among the candidates who cast their votes are Union Ministers Paban Singh Ghatowar (Dibrugarh) and Ranne Narah (Lakhimpur), former Union Minister B K Handique (Jorhat), Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s son Gaurav Gogoi (Kaliabor), Bhupen Bora (Tezpur) and state BJP president Sarbananda Sonowal (Lakhimpur).
The fate of 51 candidates has been sealed in Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Kaliabor, Tezpur and Lakhimpur constituencies.
The Congress, BJP and Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) had fielded candidates in all five constituencies. Several other parties, including AAP, Trinamool Congress and All India Forward Bloc, had also fielded their candidates in the first phase.
The Congress had won on four of the constituencies and AGP one in 2009 general elections.
Maximum number of candidates in fray were in Lakhimpur and Kaliabor constituencies with 13 each while the least number of six candidates were in fray from Dibrugarh constituency. The largest constituency
electorate-wise was Kaliabor and the smallest was Dibrugarh. The state will have two more phase of polling on April 12 and 24 for the remaining nine seats.