Record voting in 3rd phase, Gauhati LS seat witnesses highest voter turnout in decades
GUWAHATI: On Tuesday last, the third and the final phase of voting ended in Assam. Gauhati, Barpeta, Dhubri and Kokrajhar were the four constituencies that went to polls on 23rd April. The final figure of voter turnout in Assam stands at 81.52 percent taking all the three phases into account. This figure is a little higher than the one during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, when 80.13 percent voters turned out to cast their mandate.
The third phase elections in the state registered the highest turnout of voters among the 17 constituencies across 13 states and two union territories in the country that went into the third phase polls. Assam broke its own record from that of 2014; by the early hours the state had already recorded higher voter turnout in comparison to rest of the states in the country that went to polls that day.
Around 5.2 lakh people - that’s around 7 percent – had already voted by 9 am in the state where Kerala had registered 0.56 percent, Bihar was at 0.36 percent, Goa at 0.16 percent, Gujarat at 0.13 percent and Karnataka at 0.07 percent. Jammu & Kashmir had recorded at zero at that time.
People lined up in front of the polling stations by 5 am in the morning, hours before polling began. Gauhati Lok Sabha constituency recorded a turnout of 80.81 percent with male voters at 81.64 percent, females at 79.96 percent and third gender standing at 5.13 percent.
According to the voter turnout percentage released by the Election Commission of India, Barpeta constituency recorded 86.60 percent which is slightly higher than that of its own 2014 mark of 84.4 percent turnout. Kokrajhar saw a higher turnout of 83.16 percent compared to 80.94 percent in 2014 and Dhubri recorded 90.66 percent in comparison to its 88.49 percent in the 2014 general elections.
A total of 54 candidates are in fray in the third phase of the Lok Sabha elections out of which seventeen candidates are from Gauhati, fifteen from Dhubri, thirteen from Barpeta and nine candidates from Kokrajhar. Of the total 9,577 polling stations in the four constituencies 524 were in remote areas.
The city perspective
Gauhati Lok Sabha constituency this time witnessed more turnout from what it recorded in 2014 suggesting that the city of Guwahati has actively participated in the electoral process. In comparison to 2014, Lok Sabha elections 2019 saw higher numbers of participation by the people.
Gauhati East legislative assembly constituency (LAC), which falls under the urban city area saw 72.93 percent voter turnout which is 4.50 percent high than 68.43 percent in 2014. Gauahati West LAC recorded 78.46 percent in comparison to 74.62 percent in 2014. Jalukbari LAC had a turnout of 81.83 percent which is 0.74 percent high from that what it recorded in 2014 and Dispur LAC saw 75.62 percent which is a little higher than 72.34 in 2014.
Dispur was also the voting centre of former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, who, along with his wife, came and cast their votes. State finance minister and North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) convener Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma along with his wife cast his vote at Amingaon in North Guwahati.
During the last Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had emerged victorious from Gauhati constituency with BJP's Bijoya Chakravarty winning the seat with a difference of 3,15,784 votes to Congress's candidate Manash Borah who had secured 4,49,201 votes. This time in Gauhati the main contest is between Queen Ojha of BJP and Bobbeeta Sharma of the Congress.
In many polling booths within the city EVM malfunctions have affected the voting process as in many polling stations voting got delayed by an hour because of malfunction. The EVMs were fixed or replaced with new ones later on.
BJP, Congress both express confidence of good show
Political parties have expressed their confidence of winning the seat. BJP president Ranjit Kumar Dass, addressing the media, said that he is confident that the people will vote in favour of the alliance and the party would win 10 seats from state while Assam congress president Ripun Bora, in a recent press conference, said that as per the party's assessment the Congress will win 8 seats which may even exceed to 10 as people are strongly opposing the citizenship bill and the failure of Narendra Modi's government in fulfilling its promise.
Though the city area witnessed a turnout of 4.50 percent more than the last Lok Sabha elections, it has to be seen whether there is a wave of anti-incumbency or not as usually high voter turnout suggests that there might be a chance of anti-incumbency. But, since 2014, the participation of Guwahatians has increased in 2019. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections the city saw the maximum participation in the constituency especially from the urban area.
According to the residents of the city, whoever comes to power in this election should address the issue concerning the city like floods, drinking water problems, jobs and unemployment and make these their first priority. However, only on 23rd May after the result are out will it be clear as to whom did the people of Gauhati constituency gave their mandate to in such large numbers.