Men, women and first-time voters queued up in front of the polling stations in large numbers well before the voting began at 7 a.m. Polling time has been in creased by an hour till 6 p.m. by the election officials in view of the Covid-19 situation.
According to the Chief Electoral Officer of Assam, Nitin Khade, 73,44,631 voters, including 36,09,959 women, are eligible to cast their votes across 10,592 polling stations in the second phase that will decide the fate of candidates in 39 Assembly constituencies. As many as 556 polling stations are being managed by women officials.
Around 31,000 Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) personnel, along with thousands of state security force personnel, have been deployed to maintain law and order during this phase in which 42,368 polling personnel are engaged.
In Thursday’s polling, the electoral fate of 345 candidates, including 26 women aspirants, will be decided.
In the second phase, the fate of several ministers, including Fisheries Minister Parimal Suklabaidya, MoS for Health and Family Welfare Piyush Hazarika, Irrigation Minister Bhabesh Kalita and Deputy Speaker Aminul Haque Laskar, will be decided.
Suklabaidya is contesting from Dholai for the seventh time on a BJP ticket, Hazarika from Jagiroad and Kalita from Rangia.
Former Congress minister Gautam Roy is contesting from Katigorah on a BJP ticket, while former Deputy Speaker Dilip Kumar Paul, who resigned from the BJP after he was denied a ticket and was subsequently expelled from the party, is contesting as an Independent candidate from Silchar.
Of the 39 seats, 15 fall in southern Assam’s Barak Valley region, comprising three districts — Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakhandhi — which are mostly dominated by Bengali-speaking people.
In 2016, the BJP had bagged eight of these seats, while the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) won four seats and the Congress three.
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