Nava J Thakuria
Guwahati: Polling exercises for five Assam legislative assembly constituencies (along with three in Meghalaya and one in Mizoram) are in progress since it began at 7 am on Saturday. The electoral exercise is going on in a peaceful ambiance and no unwanted incident has been reported from any polling station in the region.
Till 3 pm, nearly 65% polling was recorded in Assam. Gossaigaon constituency has reported highest polling (72%), where Mariani reported lowest turnout (55 %) in eight hours of voting till now. Thowra has recorded 70 % polling where Bhabanipur reports 68 % polling till the afternoon hour. Tamulpur has recorded 58 % polling till now.
Altogether 31 candidates are in the fray, among whom 7,96,456 general electors will have the opportunity to elect five legislators to the State assembly. State chief electoral officer Nitin Khade informed that preparations were completed for smooth conduct of the by-elections on time. Moreover, with an aim to keep a strong vigilance on law & order, expenditure, etc the election authority has appointed a number of general, police and expenditure observers.
A total of 5,410 polling personnel are being engaged in the polling exercise where 1, 869 ballot units, 1, 844 control units along with 1, 861 VVPATs are being used. As a major push for conducting free & fair elections, live monitoring and webcasting has also been arranged by the authority. Webcasting is going from all the 1,176 polling stations, out of which 285 are in Gossaigaon seat, 213 in Bhawanipur, 322 in Tamulpur, 183 in Mariani and 173 in Thowra constituency.
The personnel belonging to central armed police forces are being deployed at each polling station for security measures and to ensure a conducive atmosphere for the voting. In the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, the authority has taken every possible precautionary measure to ensure that all the polling stations follow the corona related guidelines for the safety of voters and election officials.
Each and every polling station was sanitized one day prior to the event and the facility of thermal scanning, hand sanitizers, face-masks were made available. The electorates were ensured minimum facilities like drinking water, waiting shed, toilet, adequate arrangement for lighting, wheelchairs for needy persons, etc in all polling stations.
Meghalaya electorates have recorded nearly 48% polling in three constituencies Mawryngkneng (44%), Mawphlang (45%) and Rajabala (55%) till 1 pm. On the other hand, Mizoram is also witnessing an impressive voter’s turnout in by-elections for Turial assembly constituency. On the other hand, the NDPP candidate was declared uncontested from Shamtorr-Chessor assembly seat in Nagaland.