From a Correspondent
JORHAT, April 4: Voting for the first phase of elections began in Assam on Monday to decide the fate of 539 candidates in fray across 65 constituencies, including Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi in Titabor and BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Sarbanda Sonowal in Majuli. Around 73 per cent voter’s turnout was recorded till 3 pm for the first phase of assembly polls in Assam. By and large, polling was peaceful with sporadic incidents reported from some corners of the State and minor sg of EVM-VVPAT machines across some polling stations. This year, 95,11,372 voters were expected to exercise their voting rights in the State.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi accompanied by wife Dolly Gogoi and son Gaurav Gogoi, who is also a Member of Parliament, cast their votes in centre no 105 of Devi Charan Barua School (West) on Monday. Talking to media persons just after casting his vote, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said, “I am 100 per cent confident that the Indian tiol Congress will emerge as the single largest party not only in the first phase of elections but also in the second phase. People want change. Change for better, not change for worse. We have proved that we can bring change. What was the situation when AGP or even BJP ruled the State? People want more development, more employment.”
“I also want change. Assam needs faster development. Who wants to remain static? Now question is who can bring in that change (paribartan)? We at Congress have already brought in paribartan. BJP’s paribartan is only in banners and hoardings. We will get majority though I admit that we might lose a few seats. Upper Assam is our stronghold and we are still holding Upper Assam. This time we will do better even in lower Assam. Our fight is not against the Centre. We want to cooperate with the Centre but Modi’s injustice; so long as he will resort to injustice I will fight against injustice but not against the Centre. Why should I? I wish Sarbanda all the best but unlike 2011, I will retain 79 seats and that is for sure. AIUDF is losing popularity among the minority voters and regarding Titabor that is my seat, I do not think there is any tough battle. It was tough in 2001 when BJP was in power,” said Gogoi.
Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) and BJP candidate Kamakhya Prasad Tasa, considered to be a strong opponent against Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi at Titabor, too voted in the 260 No Garmur Duliagaon Primary School Centre. The MP was accompanied by wife Kabita Tasa. Just after voting, the MP expressed satisfaction over the large turnout of voters in both Jorhat as well as Titabor which was a much needed factor to throw out the 15-year old Congress regime. Similarly BJP candidate Hiten Goswami cast his vote in the 138 no holia Primary School in Borbheta, Jail Road.
This year a total number of 535 companies of security forces of Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) and State Armed Police Force (SAPF) have been deployed in the 65 constituencies where polling is being held. Till the filing of this report voting was still continuing in certain polling stations and the poll percentage is likely to increase in Jorhat.