Guwahati: Polling for five Assam legislative assembly constituencies begins this morning from 7 am. The electoral authority completed all arrangements to conduct the ensuing by-elections in a free, fair and safe manner. The campaigning in all seats ended on Wednesday evening as the silence period began for the 30 October polls, where altogether 31 candidates are in the fray.
State chief electoral officer, Nitin Khade, informed that 7,96,456 general electors would exercise their franchise to elect their preferred candidates to the State legislative assembly from Gossaigaon, Bhabanipur, Tamulpur, Mariani and Thowra seats. He also added that all preparations were completed for smooth conduct of the by-elections and to keep a strong vigilance on law & order, expenditure, etc. The election authority appointed several general, police, and expenditure observers.
In Saturday’s polling exercise, 5,410 polling personnel are being engaged, and 1, 869 ballot units, 1, 844 control units, along with 1, 861 VVPATs, are used. As a major push for conducting free & fair elections, the authority has arranged live monitoring and webcasting.
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. Through webcasting, the election authority will monitor the polling process live on the polling day.
The central armed police forces have been deployed at each polling station for security measures and to ensure a conducive voting atmosphere. 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 before the event, and facility of thermal scanning, hand sanitisers, face masks are being made available. The electorates are ensured minimum facilities like drinking water, waiting shed, toilet, adequate arrangement for lighting, wheelchairs for needy persons, etc., in all polling station areas. Arrangements like transport facility for older people, assistance from volunteers to PwDs, etc. are also being made.
The ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded three former legislators belonging to Indian National Congress (INC) and All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF). One of the saffron allies, United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL), has nominated its candidates for two other seats. They will be challenged by representatives from INC, AIUDF, Bodoland People’s Front, Gana Suraksha Party, Communist Party of India, etc.