Guwahati, April 6, 2021 (Agencies): Polling for 40 seats in the final phase of Assam polls at 7am on Tuesday to decide the fate of 337 candidates, including senior minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, his five cabinet colleagues and state BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Dass.
First-time voters in Assam displayed their enthusiasm by queuing up in large numbers before polling stations, much before the third phase of the Assembly polls began on Tuesday, with the momentum continuing.
The young voters turned up in large numbers in most of the 40 constituencies spread across 12 districts. In the third and last phase of state polls, there are 4,18,537 electors who are eligible to exercise their franchise for the first time.
Big names in final phase of Assam polls
BJP ministers Himanta Biswa Sarma, Chandra Mohan Patowary, Siddhartha Bhattacharya and Phanibhushan Choudhury exercised their franchise at their respective polling centres in the morning hours.
All of them are in the fray in this phase.
BPF ministers Chandan Brahma and Pramila Rani Brahma also cast their votes, besides BPL chief Hagrama Mohilary, Congress leader Ratul Patowary and state election icon and actor Kopil Bora.
Voter turnout in final phase of Assam polls
The polling process has been peaceful as voters exercised their franchise across 40 assembly constituencies.
South Salmara district saw a high voter turnout with 88.59% polling till 5.30pm, news agency ANI reported. Kamrup Metro witnessed the lowest voter turnout so far with 60.34% polling till 5.30pm.
Jalukbari constituency polling percentage till 5.30pm was 64%. It is an important constituency for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party as Himanta Biswa Sarma seeks to retain his seat where he won thrice previously.
Mankachar constituency recorded the highest voter turnout with 87.66% voter turnout while Gauhati East constituency recorded lowest voter turnout with 55% polling,
A direct contest between nominees of the BJP-led NDA and Congress-headed Grand Alliance is on the cards in 20 constituencies while there is a triangular fight, including friendly contests, in the remaining seats with the Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) being considered as the third force.
The newly floated AJP is contesting in 22 seats while there are 126 independents in the fray in the final phase of the election in which the BJP-led coalition is seeking to return to power for the second term in a row.
First time voters greeted in final phase of Assam polls
The first voters at the polling centres were greeted with saplings and the senior citizens with gamosas (traditional Assamese scarf).
For the convenience of the senior citizens and physically challenged voters, arrangements for wheelchairs and e-rickshaws were made.
The model polling stations have a children’s play zone, seating lounge, selfie zone and muppets.
Many of the booths also had seating areas, in rainbow shades, themed on inclusivity and LGBTQ rights.
Themes in Assam polling booths
Many polling centres were decorated with recyclable items, having art installations made with bottles, plastic wrappers, etc.
Some of the voting centres were also decked up, representing the multi-cultural diversity of the state.
Ethnic fabric and handicraft items were on display, besides mannequins wearing tribal attires put up at the selfie zones.
The Assamese festival of Bihu was also a popular theme in several polling booths.
Arch gates were set up, besides the seating areas decorated with colourful chairs, giving the voting centres a festive look.
At a voting station in Goalpara, the women polling personnel wore identical mekhela and chador — an Assamese traditional attire.
Exit Polls 2021
With polling concluding in Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry, all eyes are now on exit polls for these states.
But those waiting eagerly for the exit polls to get an indication of which way the wind is blowing will have to wait a little more. The Election Commission of India has banned conducting any exit poll and publicising it till 7.30 pm on April 29.
The Commission has said publishing or publicising the result of exit polls through the print or electronic media or in any other medium will be prohibited until the elections are over in West Bengal.
Notably, West Bengal is voting in eight-phase elections. While it has voted in the third phase today, the last phase polling would be held on April 29. Since the voting will conclude around 6 pm, the commission has barred publishing any exit polls till 7.30 pm, in case of any delay in voting on that day due to unforeseen circumstances.