Around 72.14% voter turnout was recorded on Saturday in the first phase of the Assam Assembly election 2021.

“The poll percentage reported from the 47 ACs of phase 1 in Assam is 72.14% as of 5 pm,” the Election Commission of India (ECI) said in a statement.

The polling percentage is likely to increase as the voting records are yet to come from remote areas.

Voting for the first phase of the Assam Assembly election 2021 began at 7 am and culminated at 6 pm on Saturday.

The voters exercised their franchise for 264 candidates including 23 female candidates in 47 Assembly constituencies.

The second and third phases of polling in Assam will be held on April 1 and April 6.

Around 60.55% voter turnout was recorded in Assam till 3 pm.

The polling was held in 11,537 polling stations, mostly covering Assam’s 12 districts.

A total of 8,109,815 voters, including 4,032,481 females, were eligible to exercise their franchise.

To avoid direct contact with the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), every voter was given a hand glove.

Masks were also provided to the voters.

“Voting was held in 47 Assembly Constituencies of Assam with a total of 81 lakh electorates registered across 11,537 Polling Stations. The number of Polling Stations has increased in view of the fact that the number of voters per polling station has been reduced from 1500 to 1000 keeping social distancing norms in view,” the Election Commission said.

“As a major push in conducting free and fair elections, live monitoring and webcasting mechanism for more than 50% of Polling Stations including critical and vulnerable polling booths was put in place to ensure safe and secure atmosphere in polling areas,” it added.

Commission, CEOs, DEOs, Observers could watch live streaming and keep a close watch on these polling booths in Assam and West Bengal.

Webcasting arrangements were put in place for 5039 Polling Stations in Assam.

As an initiative towards inclusive and accessible elections, the option of postal ballot facility has been extended to PwDs, Senior Citizens above the age of 80 years, COVID-19 suspect or affected persons and persons employed in essential services.

All the Polling Stations were directed to follow COVID-19 safety protocols. Accordingly, it was ensured that the Polling Stations were sanitized one day prior to poll and facility of thermal scanning, hand sanitisers, face masks were also made available at the Polling Stations.  Proper arrangements for social distancing were put in place, the EC claimed.

During this phase, a total of 11,537 Ballot Units (BUs), 11,537 Control Units (CUs) and 11,537 VVPATs were used in Assam.

Over 30,000 Central Armed Police Forces along with thousands of state security forces were deployed to maintain law and order during the first phase of the Assam Assembly election.

Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who is contesting from Majuli Assembly constituency, cast his vote on Saturday in his home district, Dibrugarh.

Apart from Sonowal, other big names in fray in the first phase of Assam Assembly elections are outgoing Speaker Hitendranath Goswami, who is contesting against Congress’ former MLA Rana Goswami in Jorhat.

Assam Congress president Ripun Borah is contesting for Gohpur Assembly seat against BJP MLA Utpal Bora.

Jailed activist and president of Raijor Dal Akhil Gogoi is contesting from the Sibsagar Assembly constituency.

The election officials said to avoid crowding, the number of voters for every booth was brought down to a maximum of a thousand.

EVM glitches were reported from various parts of the state during the polling.

In the 2016 Assam Assembly election, the BJP-led alliance won 35 of the 47 seats where the voting was held in the first phase.

The Congress party won nine seats of the 47 seats and the remaining three seats were won by other parties.

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