GUWAHATI, April 11 - Over 70 per cent of the electorate exercised their franchise in the five constituencies of Assam which went to the polls in the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections today.
The final polling percentage is expected to be higher with voting continuing at many places beyond 5 pm. However, the Election Commission has not updated the polling figures after 5 pm and the exact poll percentage is expected tomorrow.
�Till 5 pm, the polling percentage was 67.4 per cent but voting continued at many places beyond 5 pm. The final update on the turnout will be declared by tomorrow,� said Mukesh Sahu, Chief Electoral Officer, Assam.
The five constituencies that went to the polls in the first phase today are Lakhimpur, Tezpur, Dibrugarh, Jorhat and Kaliabor.
Till 5 pm, the highest polling of 72 per cent was reported from Jorhat constituency, while Tezpur witnessed 70 per cent polling, Dibrugarh 69 per cent, Kaliabor 64 per cent and Lakhimpur 62 per cent, as per data released by the Election Commission.
No incident of violence was reported from anywhere and polling was largely peaceful, Election Commission official said.
Tinsukia police recovered an IED near an oil pipeline under Langkasi police of Bordubi this morning and neutralized it.
However, there were minor glitches at certain polling stations due to technical problems in EVMs and the voting machines had to be replaced. That led to delay in polling at certain stations.
The weather, which was inclement during last few days, improved today and voters were seen queuing outside polling booths since as early as 5.30 am at many places. Polling started at 7 am.
Altogether, 41 candidates are in fray in the five constituencies, including 11 in Lakhimpur, eight each in Jorhat and Dibrugarh, and seven each in Tezpur and Kaliabor.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal cast his vote at Dibrugarh, while former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, accompanied by his son and Kaliabor constituency Congress candidate Gaurav Gogoi, exercised their franchise at Jorhat. Assam Legislative Assembly Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami also cast his vote at Jorhat.
In the last elections held in 2014, Lakhimpur had recorded polling of 77.75 per cent, Dibrugarh 79.26 per cent, Jorhat 78.32 per cent, Kaliabor had reported 80.11 per cent, and Tezpur had witnessed polling of 77.87 per cent.
In the last parliamentary elections, held in 2014, the BJP had emerged victorious from Lakhimpur, Tezpur, Dibrugarh and Jorhat constituencies, while the Kaliabor seat had gone to the Congress.
Unlike 2014, this time the BJP has an alliance with the AGP and the BPF, as well as with three other smaller local parties.
As part of the seat-sharing arrangement among the NDA constituents, the BJP has fielded candidates from Lakhimpur, Tezpur, Dibrugarh and Jorhat, while the Kaliabor seat has been allotted to the AGP. On the other hand, the Congress is in fray in all the five constituencies.
The main contest in Lakhimpur constituency is likely to be between BJP�s Pradan Baruah and Congress candidate Anil Borgohain, while at Jorhat it is likely to be between BJP�s Topon Kumar Gogoi and Congress� Sushanta Borgohain.
In Dibrugarh, the main contest is expected to be between BJP�s Rameswar Teli and Congress nominee Paban Singh Ghatowar, and in Tezpur between Pallab Lochan Das of BJP and MGVK Bhanu of Congress.
AGP�s Mani Madhav Mahanta and Congress candidate Gaurav Gogoi are the main contenders in Kaliabor.