Guwahati: The voting for the third and last phase of Assam Assembly Elections started on Tuesday with all COVID-19 protocols being maintained, officials said.
The voters including men, women and the first time electorates, in large numbers lined up in front of the polling stations well before the voting for 40 of the total of 126 assembly seats opened at 7 am.
The polling will ontinue till 6 pm. without any break as the Election Commission has extended one hour time in view of the coronavirus situation.
Assam Chief Electoral Officer Nitin Khade said that all necessary steps have been taken to conduct free, fair, peaceful and smooth elections on Tuesday, when 79,19,641 voters including 39,07,963 women electorates are eligible to cast their votes across 9,587 polling stations in 6,107 locations.
Of the 9,587 polling stations, 316 are all women managed polling stations.
Khade told the media that around 32,000 Central Armed Police Forces, along with thousands of state security force personnel, have been deployed to maintain law and order during this phase in which 45,604 polling personnel were engaged to conduct the polls.
Tuesday's polling would also decide the political fate of BJP's points man and Finance, Health, Education, PWD Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and ruling party's state President Ranjeet Kumar Dass.
Sarma, convener of the BJP backed anti-Congress body -- North East Democratic Alliance, is contesting from the Jalukbari seat from where he consecutively won since 2001 while Dass is contesting from Patacharkuchi seat. In the last elections in 2016, he was elected to the Assembly from the Sorbhog constituency.
In the month-long hectic election campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP President JP Nadda, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his Madhya Pradesh counterpart Shivraj Singh Chouhan campaigned for party candidates.
On the other side, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, former Maharashtra CM Ashok Chavan, former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, party spokesman Gourav Vallabh and General Secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala were among the central leaders who campaigned for their party candidates.
Covid-19 protocols for the voters including social distancing and thermal screening are being maintained.
(With inputs from IANS)