Around 37 per cent voters have exercised their franchise till 1 pm on Saturday in the first phase of the Assam Assembly election which is underway in 47 constituencies.

After casting his vote at a school in Dibrugarh, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who is contesting from Majuli, told the media that the Bharatiya Janata Party (Bjp) would get more than 100 seats in the 126-member Assembly.

The first phase of polling will decide the fate of 264 candidates including 23 female candidtaes.

Voting began across 11,537 polling stations mostly covering the eastern Assam’s 12 districts at 7 a.m.

It will continue till 6 p.m as the Election Commission extended the time by an hour in view of the Covid-19 induced situations.

A total of 8,109,815 voters, including 4,032,481 females, are eligible to cast their ballots.

Covid-19 protocols for the voters, including social distancing and thermal screening, are being maintained.

Election officials said that to avoid crowding, the number of voters for every booth has been brought down to a maximum of a thousand.

As a result, the number of polling booths has been augmented by 34.71 per cent to 33,530 from 24,890 in 2016.

To avoid direct contact with the Electronic Voting Machine, every elector is being given a hand glove.

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

According to the election officials, over 30,000 Central Armed Police Forces along with thousands of state security forces have been deployed to maintain law and order during this phase.

No untoward incident has been reported so far from any of the 12 districts where balloting is underway.

In a unique gesture, the election officials donated saplings to the voters in the model polling stations, which were decorated with colourful balloons.

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