Assam records its highest voter turnout

Assam registered an impressive overall polling percentage of 84.72, the highest ever in the state's history of Assembly polls, which concluded yesterday.

By A STAFF REPORTER
  • Published 13.04.16
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Women show their ID cards before voting in Guwahati on Monday. Picture by UB Photos

Guwahati, April 12: Assam registered an impressive overall polling percentage of 84.72, the highest ever in the state's history of Assembly polls, which concluded yesterday.

The highest polling percentage of 93.53 per cent was recorded in Jaleswar Assembly constituency in Goalpara district while the lowest was 75.05 per cent at Silchar in Cachar district.

The previous highest percentage was 79.21 per cent in the 1985 Assembly polls, which was held after the culmination of the six-year-long Assam Agitation against influx.

In the 2011 Assembly polls, the overall voting percentage was 75.9 per cent.

The percentage of women voter turnout was 84.81 per cent, slightly higher than that of men, which stood at 84.64 per cent.

Of the total 126 Assembly constituencies, in 68 constituencies - 44 in first phase and 24 in second phase - the polling percentage of women voters was higher than that of men.

Additional chief electoral officer, Assam, Nitin Khade, attributed the high turnout to greater awareness among voters but the BJP and the AGP claimed it could be a reflection of the fact that this time people had overwhelmingly voted for change.

The final polling percentage in the second phase held yesterday was an all-time high of 87 per cent, which shattered previous records.

In the second phase, the highest percentage of 93.53 was recorded at Jaleswar and the lowest percentage of 79.21 in Gauhati East.

An official source said that over 90 per cent votes were polled in 14 Assembly constituencies in the second phase.

He said this time 1,69,00,487 voters exercised their franchise, of which 1,03,10,623 were male and 96,37,067 female.

A total of 1,064 candidates contested the elections, of whom 122 are from the Congress, 89 from the BJP, 74 from the AIUDF, 30 from the AGP, 13 from the BPF, 15 from CPI, 19 from CPM, 205 others and 497 Independents. The total number of polling stations was 24,890, spread across 50 election districts in the state.

Counting of votes will take place on May 19.

The Kamrup (metro) district, which has four Assembly constituencies - Gauhati East, Gauhati West, Dispur and Jalukbari - also recorded its highest-ever polling percentage this time, which was 80.17 per cent.

District election officer and Kamrup (metro) deputy commissioner M. Angamuthu said various voter-friendly activities, including medals given to first five voters of every polling station in the district by the administration, were appreciated by the voters.

"There was great participation by first-time voters. Elderly persons, women and physically challenged persons also voted in large numbers," Angamuthu said.

According to chief minister Tarun Gogoi, the large voter turnout was because of the increase in awareness among voters. He said it was a good sign for democracy, which indicated the people's interest in shaping their own destiny. Gogoi, however, did not think that people had voted for change.

Assam and Nagaland governor P.B. Acharya today congratulated the voters, Election Commission, police and the government machinery for successful, free and fair conduct of the Assembly polls.

He expressed satisfaction at the high voter turnout and termed it as a "remarkable achievement". He congratulated the people for exercising their democratic rights by coming out in huge numbers to vote.

A commission source said that its Systematic Voters' Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) initiative had led to huge voting figures in the elections this time.

He said the commission had taken specific steps under the initiative, including setting up all-women polling stations, model stations, using mascots, enabling special facilities for the disabled and deploying awareness observers in Assam.