Rain fails to deter voter as Assam assembly poll begins

Voting for 65 constituencies in the first phase of the Assam assembly elections began at 7 am today. An electorate of 95,11,732, including 45,95,712 women, exercised their franchise in 12,190 polling booths to decide the fate of 539 candidates.

In the first three hours, polling crossed 20 per cent, as per the report of the Election Commission in Guwahati. Reports from 14 districts where polls are being held suggested that a huge turnout likely in the first phase.

In Barak valley, heavy showers in the first two hours dampened the spirits of voters, but despite that, with the weather situation improving, voters queued outside polling stations.

A total number of 535 companies of security forces have been deployed in the 65 constituencies where poll are being held.

''A total number of 535 companies of both Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) and State Armed Police Force (SAPF) have been deployed for the first phase of the assembly election. All polling stations in rural areas and 82 percent of polling station in urban area has been covered by half section of CAPF,'' said Vijendra, Chief Electoral Officer of Assam.

More than 48,000 polling personnel have been deployed in the first phase. Apart from vehicles, 144 boats and 35 bullock carts have been used for transporting electronic voting machines and officials to polling stations in remote and inaccessible areas.

The Congress has fielded candidates in all the 65 constituencies and the Bharatiya Janata Party in 52 constituencies in the first phase. The BJP's ally Asom Gana Parisad has 10 candidates and BPF ( Bodoland People Front) is present in three constituencies.

Heavyweights from the Congress and the BJP are in the fray in the first phase. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi is seeking the people's mandate from his home constituency Titabor in Jorhat district. The BJP has fielded its Jorhat Lok Sabha MP Kamakhya Prasad Tasa against Gogoi.

The BJP's chief ministerial candidate Sarbananda Sonowal is contesting from Majuli (reserved for Scheduled Tribes). The AGP's president Atul Bora is seeking a mandate from Bokakhat constituency ion Golaghat district of the state.