| Gaurav Gogoi shows his ink-marked finger after casting his vote on Monday as his wife Elizabeth looks on. (PTI) |
Jorhat, April 7: This last capital of Ahom monarchy and a premier tea town today had a host of VVIPs casting their votes along with common citizens since early morning with a favourable weather with the mercury and sun both remaining moderate throughout the day.
First among the them was the young Gaurav Gogoi, who in his political debut to step into the shoes of his father, exercised his franchise not for the seat (Kaliabor) from where he is contesting, but for Jorhat Lok Saba constituency, as he like his father chief minister Tarun Gogoi is a voter from there.
Clad in a white pyajama kurta and a gamosa on his shoulders, accompanied by wife Elizabeth Coleburn (wearing a traditional mekhela sador), the junior Gogoi laced with a smile — trademark of his father — arrived at 7.25am at 103 DCB Girls’ High School, about 300 metres from their ancestral home at Nazir Ali here.
Being one of the early voters, Gaurav did not find the rush but had to stand in the queue for a few minutes and was greeted by the people waiting for their turn. He interacted with some of them.
As he was going through the vote-casting process, his wife stood, as she could not vote for being a British citizen.
After casting his vote, Gaurav told the media that he felt very “honoured and proud” to participate in the world’s largest democratic exercise.
“I would like to thank the Election Commission and government officials involved in the conduct of the poll process, which requires a heavy logistical support,” Gaurav said.
On his and his party’s prospects, he said, “The wind is blowing in the right direction.” To a query, Elizabeth said she was “very happy to see the positive response” received by the Congress across Assam.
Gaurav’s parents Tarun Gogoi and Dolly Gogoi arrived at the polling centre around 9.45am with a ring of NSG commandos guarding them.
Talking to newspersons, a beaming Gogoi flashing the victory sign, said he was confident of the Congress “performing well in Assam”.
“No Modi magic will work in Assam, my magic will work as my government’s performance is better than Gujarat in many respects,” Gogoi said.
Brushing aside the BJP’s claim of first-time voters being attracted towards Modi’s vision, the chief minister said new voters were intelligent and had seen face of development under his government and hence would take the “right” decision.
Former DoNER minister and incumbent MP from Jorhat seat since 1991, Bijoy Krishna Handique, who is seeking his seventh term, had cast his vote accompanied by his three daughters. Handique’s wife had cast her vote just after polling started at 7am.
Handique told reporters that he was confident of winning with a bigger margin this time even though his opponents (read BJP) had carried out a “false propaganda” against him on non-performance.
Earlier, sitting MP from Kaliabor Dip Gogoi, who has vacated the seat for his nephew Gaurav, cast his vote at the same centre.
In Garmur’s Duliagaon L.P. School, the BJP contender posing a challenge to Handique, Kamakhya Prasad Tasa, had cast his vote.
Altogether there are 10 candidates in the fray.