Assam elections: 25.88pc turnout recorded in first four hours of polling

Guwahati, March 27 (PTI): An estimated 25.88 per cent of the total 81.09 lakh electors exercised their franchise till 11 am in 47 constituencies of Assam where polling is underway with strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols in the first phase of elections on Saturday.

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-19 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.

The chief minister then left for his constituency Majuli where polling is underway.

Voting began at 7 am in the northeastern state and will conclude at 6 pm, with the timing extended by an hour to ensure COVID protocols are followed.

Altogether 264 candidates, including 23 women, are in the fray in the first phase of the elections, he said.

The fate of Sonowal, Speaker Hitendranath Goswami, state Congress chief Ripun Borah and a host of ministers will be decided during the day.

First voters in many polling stations were greeted with saplings and 'Gamosa', a traditional hand-woven Assamese scarf.

Women officials are exclusively conducting the exercise in 479 polling stations.

A total of 300 companies of security forces have been deployed in the first phase, in which people are voting at 11,537 polling stations across 12 districts of upper Assam and the northern bank of Brahmaputra.

Most of the 47 seats where polling is going on are likely to witness a triangular contest between the ruling BJP-AGP alliance, the Congress-led opposition grand alliance and the newly formed Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP).

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