GUWAHATI: An estimated 51 per cent polling was recorded till 2 PM today in 65 constituencies of Assam to decide the fate of 539 contestants during the first phase of Assembly elections.
Half of the 95,11,732 voters including Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi have cast their votes so far, election office sources said, adding 50.83 per cent polling was recorded across 2190 polling stations in 65 constituencies till 2 PM.
Besides Tarun Gogoi, the fates of BJP's Chief Ministerial candidate Sarbananda Sonowal and his alliance partner AGP's Working President Atul Bora will be decided in the first phase polls.
First time voters were seen enthusiastically standing in long queues along with others for hours as many of the polling booths wore a festive look.
Some of the booths were adorned with multi-coloured festoons and buntings, others with red, blue, white and orange balloons and yet some had earthen urns painted with smiling human faces on them.
The ruling Congress, the BJP-AGP-BPF alliance and the AIUDF, CPM, CPI-M, CPI-(M)-(L) are in the fray.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi along with his wife Dolly Gogoi, son and MP Gaurav Gogoi and brother Deep Gogoi were among the early voters to stand in line to press the EVM button at the Debicharan Baruah Girls High School polling station.
Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in some polling centres were reported to have malfunctioned, briefly halting voting but once they were replaced voting continued uninterrupted, election office sources said.
With over 48,000 persons manning the polling booths, security measures have been put in place in the state and the Indo-Bangla border along Barak Valley's Karimganj district sealed.
CCTV cameras and web casting facilities have also been put in place by the election office for a free and fair election.
Altogether 535 companies of central security forces and state police have been deployed in the 65 constituencies spread across Upper Assam, two hill districts, northern bank of Brahmaputra Valley, besides Barak Valley.
For today's first phase of polling Congress is contesting in all the 65 constituencies, BJP in 54 and its alliance partners - AGP in 11 and BPF in three, AIUDF in 27, CPI and CPM in ten each with CPI(ML)(L) in six along with 60 others of unrecognised parties and 13 Independents. The remaining 61 seats will go to the polls in the second and final phase of polling on April 11.