GUWAHATI, April 23 - Over 80 per cent of the electorate exercised their franchise in the four constituencies of Assam that went to the polls in the third phase of Lok Sabha elections today. The final polling percentage is expected to be higher with voting continuing at many places beyond 5 pm. The exact poll percentage is expected by tomorrow.
The four constituencies that went to the polls in the third phase today are Gauhati, Dhubri, Barpeta and Kokrajhar.
Chief Electoral Officer, Assam, Mukesh Sahu said the polling was by and large peaceful across the four constituencies with no major incidents of violence reported. �There were no major incidents of violence reported from any of the constituencies,� he said.
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 some stations.
�In polling booths where EVM malfunctioning was reported, the machines were immediately replaced. Polling continued beyond 5 pm at some places,� Sahu said.
The average turnout figure in the four constituencies is 80.74 per cent, as per data released by the Election Commission at 8 pm.
The final figure is expected by tomorrow after the polling parties, many of which were on duty in remote polling stations, return to the respective district headquarters.
Of the total 9,577 polling stations in the four constituencies, as many as 524 are in remote areas.
The highest polling of 86.94 per cent was reported from Dhubri constituency, while Gauhati witnessed 80.20 per cent polling, Barpeta 78.11 per cent, and Kokrajhar 77.38 per cent, as per data released by the Election Commission at 8 pm.
The weather, which had been at times 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, 54 candidates are in fray in the four constituencies � 17 in Gauhati, 15 in Dhubri, 13 in Barpeta and nine in Kokrajhar.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur exercised their franchise in Guwahati, while State Finance Minister and NEDA convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma cast his vote at Amingaon, among other notables.
In the last elections held in 2014, Dhubri had recorded a turnout of 88.36 per cent, Barpeta 84.40 per cent, Kokrajhar 81.32 per cent, while Gauhati had witnessed a turnout of 78.67 per cent.
In the last parliamentary elections held in 2014, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had emerged victorious from Gauhati and the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) had won from Barpeta and Dhubri, while the Kokrajhar seat had gone to an Independent candidate.
Unlike 2014, this time the BJP has an alliance with the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the Bodoland People�s Front (BPF) as well as with three other smaller local parties.
As part of the seat-sharing arrangement among the NDA constituents, the BJP fielded its own candidate from the Gauhati constituency, while Barpeta and Dhubri were allotted to the AGP, and the Kokrajhar seat to the BPF.
The Congress contested from all the four constituencies.
The AIUDF and the United People�s Party Liberal (UPPL) entered into a �political understanding� for the Dhubri, Barpeta and Kokrajhar constituencies. While the AIUDF supported the UPPL candidate in Kokrajhar, the UPPL extended support to the AIUDF in Dhubri and Barpeta.
In Gauhati, the main contest is likely to be between Queen Oja of BJP and Bobbeeta Sharma of the Congress.
A triangular contest is likely in Dhubri among Badruddin Ajmal of AIUDF, Abu Taher Bepari of Congress and Zabed Islam of AGP, while another three-cornered contest is expected in Barpeta among Rafiqul Islam of AIUDF, Abdul Khaleque of Congress and Kumar Deepak Das of AGP.
The Kokrajhar constituency is also likely to witness a three-cornered fight among Independent candidate Naba Kumar Sarania, BPF�s Pramila Rani Brahma and UPPL�s Urkhao Gwra Brahma.