Guwahati: An estimated 72.1% of the total 81.09 lakh electors exercised their franchise till 5 pm in 47 constituencies of Assam where polling is underway with strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols in Phase 1 Assam elections on Saturday.
It is also expected that it will cross 80% till voting for the first phase concludes.
Voting began at 7 am in the state and will conclude at 6 pm, with the timing extended by an hour to ensure COVID protocols are followed.
First voters in many polling stations were greeted with saplings and ‘Gamosa’. Altogether 264 candidates, including 23 women, are in the fray in the first phase of the elections.
Women officials are exclusively conducting the exercise in 479 polling stations.
A total of 300 companies of security forces have been deployed in the first phase, in which people are voting at 11,537 polling stations across 12 districts of upper Assam and the northern bank of Brahmaputra.
Most of the 47 seats where polling is going on are likely to witness a triangular contest between the ruling BJP-AGP alliance, the Congress-led opposition grand alliance, and the newly formed Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP).
Much like the masses, high-profile voters turned out early in the day to cast their votes during the first phase of assembly elections.
Assam chief minister Sarbnanda Sonowal, who is contesting from his home turf Majuli, cast his vote in Dibrugarh.
Senior Assam Congress leader and sitting MP from Kaliabor Parliamentary constituency Gaurav Gogoi also exercised his franchise on Thursday.
Long queues were seen outside polling booths with voters and election officers adhering to COVID-19 protocols.