Guwahati, Oct 29: By-elections will be conducted in five assembly constituencies in Assam on Saturday under tight security, officials said.
Strict Covid-19 protocols will be followed during the by-polls in Gossaigaon, Bhabanipur, Tamulpur, Mariani and Thowra seats.
Around 7.96 lakh voters will decide the electoral fortune of 31 contestants in the five seats that fell vacant due to resignations and deaths of legislators, officials said on Friday.
The ruling BJP has fielded its candidates in three seats leaving the other two to alliance partner UPPL. The Congress put up nominees in all five, while its former allies, the AIUDF and the BPF, are contesting in two and one seats respectively.
The prominent contestants include Rupjyoti Kurmi, Sushanta Borgohain, Phanidhar Talukdar (all BJP); Luhit Konwar and Jowel Tudu (both Congress); Jubbar Ali and Khairul Anam Khandakar (both AIUDF) and Jiron Basumatary of the UPPL.
Voting will take place from 7 am to 5 pm while counting will be held on November 2. The poll results, however, will not affect the composition of the government.
The Election Commission has appointed general, police, and expenditure observers in the constituencies for free and fair polling.
Personnel of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) have been deployed at each polling station while webcasting will be done in all the 1,176 polling stations for monitoring the voting process live on October 30, as per the EC's direction.
In the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, the EC has taken measures to ensure that all polling stations strictly follow Covid-19 protocols for the safety of voters and election officials. The facilities of thermal scanning, hand sanitiser, face masks will also be available at the polling stations, officials said.
Facilities such as transport and wheelchair have also been made for elderly voters and persons with disabilities.
In the 126-seat House, the ruling BJP has 59 MLAs, its allies AGP and UPPL nine and five MLAs each, respectively. The opposition Congress has 27, AIUDF 15, BPF three and CPI(M) one MLA, besides an Independent legislator.
By-polls in 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. Gossaigaon seat was won by the Bodo People"s Front (BPF) in the March-April Assembly election, while the United People's Party Liberal (UPPL) had bagged Tamulpur. Mariani and Thowra had Congress MLAs, while Bhabanipur was cornered by AIUDF.