Assam bypolls: 51.65pc turnout recorded till 1 pm


Guwahati: Voting has largely been peaceful for bypolls to five assembly constituencies in Assam with 51.65 per cent turnout recorded till 1 pm on Saturday, an official said.

Polling is underway in Gossaigaon, Bhabanipur, Tamulpur, Mariani and Thowra assembly segments, with strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols, he said.

An estimated 51.65 per cent of the total 7.96 lakh electors exercised their franchise in the first six hours of voting with the highest turnout recorded in Bhabanipur at 62 per cent, followed by Gossaigaon (57.94 per cent), Thowra (54.52 per cent), Tamulpur (47 per cent) and Mariani (35.13 per cent).

Voting, which began at 7 am, will continue till 5 pm.

No untoward incident has been reported so far from the five poll-bound constituencies, the Election Commission official said, adding that Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) personnel have been deployed in 1,176 polling stations.

Long queues were seen outside polling booths with voters and election officials adhering to COVID-19 protocols and maintaining social distancing norms.

Altogether 31 candidates are in the fray, the Election Commission official said.

In the backdrop of the pandemic, polling stations were sanitised and health safety protocols are strictly followed, he said.

First-time voters were greeted with ethnic scarf in some constituencies, while volunteers helped people with disabilities (PwD) to enter the polling booths in wheelchairs.

Webcast arrangements have been put in place in all the polling stations to monitor the proceedings, the official said.

By-elections to Gossaigaon and Tamulpur were necessitated due to death of the sitting MLAs, while the incumbents of Bhabanipur, Mariani and Thowra resigned from their seats to join the ruling BJP.

The Assam government has declared October 30 this year as paid holiday for workers and employees in all factories, tea gardens, banks, shops and commercial establishments within the jurisdiction of the five constituencies to enable them to cast their votes in the bypolls.