First time voters, women flock to poll booths in Assam

Guwahati: Enthusiastic first time voters and women were seen in large numbers since early this morning in most of the polling stations where first phase of Assam Assembly polls are underway.

Buoyed by a pleasant weather, young voters and women were seen queueing up before polling station to exercise their franchise to decide the fate of 539 candidates, including 43 women, in 65 of the 126 Assembly constituencies in state.

Voters queue up to cast their votes at a polling center during the 1st phase Assam Assembly elections in Deithor on Monday. Pic/PTI

"I am very excited to vote for the first time and participate in the democratic process to elect my representative to the state Assembly," said 19-year-old Mayank Bora, an engineering student who reached the polling booth in Jorhat constituency early this morning.

"Youths have a strong voice and we can bring a change in the way the country progresses. The only way we can do that is by exercising our franchise," said 20-year-old Nilanjana Choudhury outside a poll booth at Gurucharan High School in Cachar district.

Women also were seen in most booths since early morning though their presence decreased as the day progressed and they were expected to come again towards the later part of the day to cast their votes.

"I came by 7 AM to the booth so that I can cast my votes early and go back to do my household work," said 35-year-old Jonali Baruah, a homemaker in Golaghat district.

Women were also seen dressed in their best outfits and appeared very enthusiastic to vote, particularly in the tea garden areas of Upper Assam and Barak Valley.

"We are very particular about voting and with our tea gardens closed today for elections, we got enough time to dress up in our best sarees," said 29-year-old Nilima Tanti of Murmuria Tea Estate of Upper Assam's Jorhat district. Several elderly and even disabled voters were also seen
outside many polling booths.

"I had read in the newspapers that the Election Commission has introduced several measures to make the polling process disabled-friendly and so I decided to bring my paraplegic son to cast his vote," said Monimala Das outside Raisai polling booth in Thowra constituency in Sibsagar district.

An electorate of 95,11,732, including 45,95,712 women, were expected to exercise their franchise today to decide the fate of 539 candidates -- 496 men and 43 women -- in 50 constituencies of the Brahmaputra Valley and 15 in the Barak Valley of Assam.

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