80% turnout in Assam Assembly polls’ 1st phase, tally to increase

Nearly 80 per cent of 8,109,815 voters cast their votes on Saturday in the first phase of the Assam Assembly polls, conducted in 47 of the 126 constituencies and the figure could still go up, election officials said on Sunday.

“The turnout of electorate is estimated at 79.93 per cent. The percentage will increase a bit after the final compilation of reports from all the returning officers,” a senior election official said.

No major incidents have been reported from any of the poll-bound Assembly segments except some electronic voting machine (EVM) glitches in some polling stations.

Saturday’s voting was held in the Assamese heartland of 12 districts on the south and north banks of the Brahmaputra River.

In the 2016 elections, the ruling BJP-led alliance secured 35 of the 47 seats, while the Congress won nine and the remaining three seats went to other parties.

The first phase of polling in the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled state sealed the fate of 264 candidates including state Presidents of four parties and 23 woman aspirants.

Besides Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, the other prominent faces in Saturday’s fray were Assembly Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami (Jorhat), state Congress chief Ripun Bora (Gohpur), Asom Gana Parishad chief Atul Bora (Bokakhat), Congress Legislature Party leader Debabrata Saikia (Nazira), jailed Raijor Dal President Akhil Gogoi (Sivasagar) and Assam Jatiya Parishad President Lurinjyoti Gogoi (Duliajan).

The next round is on April 1 for 39 seats, and then on April 6 for the remaining 40 seats. Results will be declared on May 2.