Guwahati, Apr 23 : Brisk polling has been reported in the first two hours of voting in four Lok Sabha constituencies of Assam in the third and final phase of an election.
Average 12.36 percent voter turnout has been reported till 0900 hours, official sources said here. Dhubri has recorded 14.52 per cent polling, Guwahati 12.38per cent, Barpeta 11.71per cent and Kokrajhar 10.14per cent. Polling has been progressing smoothly, though reports of problems in EVMs have been reported from some parts.
The fate of 54 candidates is being decided by over 74 lakh voters, including 36,61,570 female and 157 third gender voters. Polling is being held in 9577 polling stations, including 147 all-women polling stations, 125 model polling stations and 524 remote polling stations.
As many as 200 companies of security personnel have been deployed for the third phase, with a minimum one constable in every polling station. Among the candidates are two sitting MPs, including perfume baron Maulana Badruddin Ajmal, a state Cabinet minister and an incumbent MLA. There are nine women contenders, the highest number of women candidates in fray in a single phase in the three-phase polls in the state.
The number of polling personnel deployed for the final phase is 38,308, along with 436 micro observers, five general observers, four expenditure observers and three police observers. Altogether 125 Flying Squad Teams, 112 Static Surveillance Teams and 83 Video Surveillance Teams have been assigned for the phase. Besides Ajmal, the other sitting MP seeking a second consecutive term is Naba Sarania, once again as an Independent candidate from Kokrajhar seat. Sarania is pitted against Pramila Rani Brahma of Bodoland People's Front (BPF), who is also the lone woman minister in the state.
Kokrajhar constituency also has in the race UG Brahma of United People's Party (Liberal), Congress' Sabda Rabha and CPI (M) candidate Biraj Deka, among others.
For Barpeta seat, Congress has fielded its sitting MLA Abdul Khaleque, while AIUDF decided to drop it's incumbent Barpeta MP and Ajmal's younger brother Sirajuddin Ajmal and gave the party ticket to Rafiqul Islam. Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), the other partner in the BJP-BPF state government, has fielded its candidates Kumar Deepak Das and Jawed Islam from Barpeta and Dhubri respectively. The BJP is contesting only the Guwahati constituency in the final phase and has nominated ex-Guwahati mayor Queen Oja as its candidate.
Congress has also fielded a woman nominee from Guwahati by selecting Bobbeeta Sharma. Among other parties that have fielded their candidates for the third phase are Trinamool Congress, SUCI, Voters Party of India and 16 Independents. The first two phases of voting for five constituencies each on April 11 and April 18 had recorded 78 per cent and 81 per cent polling respectively. Counting of votes will be undertaken on May 23. UNI