An estimated 10.2% voters on Thurday exercised their franchise in the first two hours of polling in five parliamentary constituencies in Assam, amid reports of EVM glitches in a few booths and an IED being detected at an oil pipeline, officials said.
The Tezpur, Kaliabor, Jorhat, Dibrugarh and Lakhimpur Lok Sabha constituencies have an electorate of 76,03,458, including 38,65,334 male, 37,37,970 female and 154 of the third gender, who will decide the fate of 41 candidates.
An IED has been detected at an oil pipeline passing through a tea garden at Duliajan under Dibrugarh district, and security forces have rushed to the spot, a police officer said. There are reports of EVM glitches in a few booths under Lakhimpur and Kaliabor constituencies, delaying the beginning of polls, an official said, adding, district election offices are looking into the matter.
Voters, majority being women, queued up since early morning even before polling began at 7 a.m., and a general atmosphere of enthusiasm is prevailing in most of the booths of Tezpur, Kaliabor, Jorhat, Dibrugarh and Lakhimpur. Security has been tightened in all the 9,574 polling booths and there are no reports of any untoward incident from anywhere so far, police said.
Prominent personalities to exercise their franchise in the early hours were former chief minister Tarun Gogoi, accompanied by his wife Dolly and son Gaurav Gogoi, who is the sitting MP and Congress candidate from Kaliabor constituency. The trio exercised their franchise at Devicharan Girls’ High School at Jorhat.
Lakhimpur Congress candidate Anil Borgohain was among the first to cast his vote at an all-woman polling booth, while his BJP rival and sitting MP Pradan Barua exercised his franchise at Dhemaji. Polling in Assam will take place in three phases on April 11, 18 and 23, while the counting of votes will be on May 23.