GUWAHATI: Barring a few sporadic incidents, polling in the first phase of the Assam Assembly election was by and large peaceful on Saturday. The turnout in this phase is around 77 per cent.
This is the first-ever election held under COVID-19 protocols in the State. The voters had to sanitize their hands and use hand gloves to press the EVM (Electronic Voting Machine) buttons. Social distancing norm could not be followed outside the polling stations where there were long queues. However, the protocols, including social distancing norm inside the polling stations and thermal screening, were maintained.
The 47 LACs (Legislative Assembly Constituencies) that went to poll on Saturday include most of the heavy weights, barring that of the AIUDF. A few prominent candidates whose fates were sealed in the EVM on Saturday are Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, AGP president Atul Bora, APCC (Assam Pradesh Congress Committee) president Ripun Bora, Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) president Lurinjyoti Gogoi and Raijor Dal president Akhil Gogoi.
In the 2016 Assembly poll, the BJP won 27 seats, AGP won 8 seats, Congress won 9, AIUDF won 2 and independent 1 from these 47 LACs.
After casting his vote at Xahitya Xabha Bhavan in Dibrugarh, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who is contesting from Majuli, told the media that the BJP would get more than 100 seats.
The first phase of polling in the BJP-ruled State will decide the fate of 264 candidates, including 23 female aspirants.
Election Commission officials said that to maintain social distancing and other COVID-19 protocols and due to technical snags of the EVMs in some polling stations, the casting of votes was a little slow.
Voting began across 11,537 polling stations at 7 am and concluded at 6 pm. The voting period was extended by an hour in view of the COVID-19 wave.
A total of 8,109,815 voters, including 4,032,481 females, were eligible to cast their votes in the 47 constituencies.