An enthusiastic electorate, in a holiday mood for the forthcoming new year came out in droves to vote in Assam's three parliamentary constituencies in the second of the three phase polls today.
Women and young people, particularly first time voters, were the most enthusiastic queueing up since early morning in the three constituencies of Autonomous District (ST), Karimganj (SC) and Silchar.
A festive mood gripped the two predominantly Bengali constituencies of Karimganj(SC) and Silchar in Barak valley, bordering Bangladesh, with Bengali New Year, 'Poila Baisakh' just a couple of days away.
"We are very happy that the polling day is on a Saturday, which has been declared a public holiday, and with the festival break beginning from Monday, it will be a long weekend of celebration for us," said 20-year old student Saumen Choudhury.
Women too mostly came out in the morning to vote so that they could get back to household chores and also go shopping.
"I have plans to go New Year shopping, but will do so only after casting my vote. This is my democratic right and I will definitely exercise it," said 34-year old housewife Purnima Pramanik.
A few physically challenged persons were also found at booths in both Silchar and Karminganj.
"I am a citizen of the country and have the right to vote, so why should I not exercise my franchise. I just hope the representatives we elect are more sensitive to our problems and provide us with facilities that makes life much easier for us," 24-year old Amit Das, paralysed below the waist said.
Elderly persons, escorted by their families, were also seen at booths.
"With God's grace, I have lived to be 95 and have voted in all elections, be it the local, panchayat or the Lok Sabha," nonagenarian Sumitra Das said.
The pleasant weather also added to the festive spirit.
"Pre-monsoon rains, locally called 'Kaal Baisakhi' in Barak Valley and Bordoichila in Brahmaputra Valley, usually occur in the days leading to the spring festival, but we are very lucky that there is no sign of rain today," B K Nath of Silchar said.
In the two hill districts of Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao under Autonomous District (ST) constituency, where the fear of an indefinite bandh loomed till yesterday, voting picked up slowly with the people stepping out of home cautiously in the early hours.
The militant outfit Karbi Peoples' Liberation Tigers (KPLT) had given an indefinite bandh from April 8 demanding a separate autonomous state, but called it off yesterday and urged people to elect a representative who could raise their demand in Parliament.
Voters of the constituency comprised Karbis, Dimasas, Nagas, Tiwa, Khasis, Jemi Nagas, Hmars, Kukis, Assamese, Bengalis, Adivasis, Bodos, Nepali and Hindi-speaking communities.