Assam votes Monday – in five constituencies

Guwahati: Five Lok Sabha constituencies in Assam will go to the polls Monday, marking the first phase of India’s staggered national elections whose results will be known May 16.

An estimated 6.4 million people are eligible to vote Monday to pick representatives to the Lok Sabha from Tezpur, Jorhat, Kaliabor, Dibrugarh and Lakhimpur constituencies.

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According to the Election Commission here, a total of 51 candidates are in the fray in the first phase of the polls in Assam, which will elect the remaining nine Lok Sabha members on April 12 (three) and 24 (six).

Monday’s balloting will be held in 8,588 centres in the five Lok Sabha constituencies.

The polling is expected to start at 7 a.m. and is likely to end by 4 p.m. Campaigning in all five constituencies ends at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Police and paramilitary forces have stepped up security, more so because April 7 coincides with the Raising Day of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA).

“There is no specific threat for the election but we cannot take chances,” said a senior official of Assam Police.

He said a total of 240 companies of Assam Police and paramilitary forces had already been deployed in the state.

Ten candidates are in the fray in Jorhat, nine in Tezpur, 13 each in Kaliabor and Lakhimpur and six candidates in Dibrugarh.

Among the prominent candidates Monday are lottery baron Mani Kumar Subba (independent), Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s son Gourav Gogoi, outgoing Congress MP Bijoy Krishna Handique, veteran Communist Drupad Borgohain, BJP state president Sarbananda Sonowal, union Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Ranee Narah, Mamud Imdadul Haque Choudhury of AIUDF, union minister Pawan Singh Ghatowar, Rameswar Teli of the BJP and Anoop Phukan of the AGP.