ASSAM POLLS 2021: Voters turn up in good numbers in third phase
The “Festival of Democracy” lived up to its tag with a sizeable number of voters, young and old, turning up at the polling booths in large numbers since early morning till evening, as the third and final phase of the Assam Assembly elections ended across 40 constituencies on Tuesday evening, with an estimated polling percentage of 82.28 percent recorded till 7 pm.
The voter turnout is by far the best among the three phases of polls as the first and second phases recorded a final percentage of 79.97 percent (47 constituencies) and 80.96 percent (39 constituencies) respectively.
The final polling percentage of the third phase polls will escalate beyond the estimated percentage (82.28 per cent), with some constituencies in western Assam districts recording voter turnouts close to 90 per cent till evening.
Kamrup Metro recorded a relatively lower voter turnout of 74 per cent till 5pm.
Jalukbari, the constituency where BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma is contesting for the sixth time, saw a turnout of 78 per cent till 5pm, while Gauhati West also saw an impressive polling percentage of 79 per cent till 5pm.
Barring a few incidents, including one at Golakganj constituency in Dhubri district where security forces had to open a round of blank fire as a precautionary measure following a reported scuffle between two groups at a polling station, the voting process in the third phase remained peaceful.
Long queues in most polling booths were witnessed more than an hour before the stipulated voting time at 7am.
Sources said that in some polling stations, voters reached the polling booths between 4.30am and 5am and the weather remained sunny throughout.
From 12.83 per cent at 9am, 33.18 per cent at 11am to 53.23 per cent at 1pm and 68.31 per cent at 3pm, the turnout registered a steady increase as the day progressed.
Election department sources said that barring a miniscule number of electronic voting machines that had to be replaced in some polling booths, the polling process was smooth and held under strict COVID protocols.
Hand sanitisers, plastic gloves and face masks were provided to the voters while they were in the queue.
“The polling stations were sanitised ahead of voting day and all arrangements of bio-medical waste were in place,” said an official source.
However, some discrepancies regarding adherence to the physical distancing protocols were witnessed in a few polling stations of Gauhati East constituency.
Approximately 40,000 polling personnel have been deployed in the third phase.
Meanwhile, the third phase also saw key candidates head to the polling booths early.
BJP ministers Himanta Biswa Sarma, Chandra Mohan Patowary, Siddhartha Bhattacharya and Phani Bhushan Choudhury voted at their respective polling centres in the first half of the day.
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Among the leaders from Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), party chief Hagrama Mohilary, BPF ministers and candidates, Chandan Brahma (Sidli) and Pramila Rani Brahma (Kokrajhar East), cast their votes in their respective constituencies.
79,19,641 general electors and 26,460 service voters were registered to exercise their franchise in the third phase and decide the fate of 337 candidates, of which 25 are female.
Polling took place in 11,401 polling booths, of which 149 were model polling stations.