GUWAHATI, April 3 - The stage is set for the first phase of elections in Assam tomorrow when people in 65 Legislative Assembly Constituencies (LACs) spread across Upper Assam, North Bank, Hill districts and Barak Valley will cast their votes.
Among the prominent candidates in the fray during the first phase are Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi from Titabor constituency, BJP chief ministerial candidate Sarbananda Sonowal from Majuli, Paban Singh Ghatowar of Congress from Moran, Kamakhya Prasad Tasa of BJP from Titabor, minister Ajanta Neog from Golaghat, Assembly Speaker Pranab Gogoi from Sivasagar, BJP�s Prasanta Phukan from Dibrugarh, minister Gautam Roy from Katlicherra, and BJP MLA Dilip Kumar Paul from Silchar, among others.
A total of 95,11,732 electors are eligible to exercise their franchise in the first phase. Among them 49,16,015 are male voters and 45,95,712 are female voters. A total of 539 candidates are in the fray for 65 LACs. There are 43 female candidates.
There are 187 candidates from recognised political parties, including 52 from BJP, 65 from Congress, nine from NCP, 10 from CPI, 10 from CPI(M), 11 from AGP, 27 from AIUDF and three from BPF. In addition, there are 72 contestants from other registered parties and 280 independents trying their luck in the first phase.
There are 12,190 polling stations for the first phase spread across the 65 LACs and 17 revenue districts.
Chief Electoral Officer, Assam, Vijayendra said that 3,739 polling stations in the first phase have been identified as sensitive and another 1,992 as hypersensitive. He said that all arrangements have been made to ensure that polling is free and fair and no untoward incidents take place.
�All the polling staff will be at the respective polling stations by this evening. Voting will start at 7 am tomorrow and continue till 5 pm. All the voters who reach the polling stations by 5 pm will be allowed to cast their votes even after the time is officially over,� he added.
He said that electors will have to produce there voter IDs or one among 11 other documents at the polling station, like passport, bank passbook, MNREGA job card and PAN card, to be able to cast their votes.
A total of 12,190 presiding officers and 43,722 polling officers have been deployed. The Election Commission has deployed 535 companies of security forces, including 433 companies of Central armed police forces.
Vijayendra said that all polling stations in rural areas and 82 per cent of the polling stations each in urban areas will be covered by at least half section of the Central forces.
Webcasting will be done at 539 polling stations and micro-observers will be present at 736 polling stations. There are 454 polling stations where static video cameras have been positioned.
There will be 78 all-women polling stations in the areas going to the polls in the first phase tomorrow. There will be 134 model polling stations where facilities like welcoming groups, medical teams and eateries will be present and felicitation of eldest voter in traditional manner and tree plantation by elders will be carried out.
Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) facility will be used in the three LACs of Silchar, Tezpur and Jorhat.
During the first phase, the Election Commission has deployed 2,370 heavy vehicles, 3,913 medium vehicles, 7,347 light vehicles, 144 boats and 35 bullock carts for poll duty.