Polling begins in Assam

Guwahati, April 4 (IANS) The first phase of polling in Assam started at 7.00 a.m. on Monday for the 65 legislative assembly constituencies, officials said.

People from different age group were seen coming out to queue in front of polling stations since morning to exercise their democratic rights.

The polling will be held in 12,190 polling stations spread across 17 revenue districts of the state located mainly in Upper Assam, north bank of river Brahmaputra and in Barak Valley.

Long queues have been witnessed before most of the polling stations in the state.

A total of 95,11,732 voters, including 45,95,712 females, will decide the fate of 539 candidates, including Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi in Titabar constituency, and Bharatiya Janata Party’s chief ministerial candidate Sarbananda Sonowal in Majuli.

Out of total 12,190 polling stations in the first phase, 78 are all women polling stations, which are manned by only women officials.

Besides, there are 134 model polling stations, which have the facilities of medical team, eatery, felicitation of eldest voter in traditional manner and getting a tree planted by the eldest voter.

Free toffies will also be given to children accompanying their mothers in these model polling stations.

Assam BJP president and chief ministerial candidate in Assam Sarbananda Sonowal said that the party will win majority of the seats that are going to polls in the first phase.

“We can see that people are craving for a change in the state and I hope they will vote for us for a change,” Sonowal said while speaking to reporters at a polling station at Gormur in Majuli.

23 percent turnout in first two hours of Bengal polls (Lead)

Kolkata, April 4 (IANS) Around 23 percent of polling was reported in the first two hours for the first phase of assembly elections that began at 7.00 a.m. in West Bengal on Monday.

Polling began in 18 constituencies spread across three western districts of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia amid tight security.

The 18 poll-going constituencies include — nine in Purulia, three in Bankura and six in West Midnapore.

“A little over 23 percent turnout has been recorded in the first two hours. There are no reports of violence,” said an election commission official.

“An average of 24 percent polling was reported in West Midnapore, 22.5 percent in Bankura and 23.4 percent in Purulia,” said the official, adding that a few complaints of electronic voting machine malfunctioning have been received.

In 13 Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected constituencies, polling will end two hours early at 4.00 p.m.

As many as 40,09,171 electors including 16 transgender voters will exercise their franchise in the first stage which has 133 candidates in the fray.

The staggered six-phase elections for 294 assembly seats are spread over seven polling dates and will continue till May 5.

Among major candidates in the fray are state minister Sukumar Hansda of All India Trinamool Congress from Jhargram constituency and Communist Part of India-Marxist Pulin Bihari Baske contesting from Gopiballavpur.

The other six polling dates are April 11, 17, 21, 25, 30 and May 5.

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