Long queues outside polling booths in Assam amid drizzles

Guwahati, May 7 (PTI) People lined up in large numbers since early morning across the four Lok Sabha constituencies in Assam where voting was underway in the third phase on Tuesday.

People used all modes of transport, including boats, to reach the polling stations across Guwahati, Barpeta, Dhubri and Kokrajhar constituencies to exercise their democratic franchise amid drizzles.

“Today is Phase 3 of the Lok Sabha polls. I am sure all those who are part of the 3rd phase will strengthen our democracy by exercising their franchise… The weather in Assam is perfect for celebrating the festival of democracy,” Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said in a series of posts on X.

In the early hours, it seemed that the rain might play spoilsport, but people defied the odds and came out in large numbers.

Nagendra Nath Das, an 85-year-old retired school teacher, went to cast his vote at a booth in Daisingari village of Barpeta constituency along with his wife, son and daughter-in-law who was carrying her three-month-old baby in her arms.

“I have never missed voting and always ensured that my entire family casts their votes. It is raining lightly now, but there is a likelihood of heavy downpours during the day. So, we decided to vote early,” he told PTI.

Gaurav Goswami, a government officer, also cast his vote along with his wife and parents at the Housing Colony polling station in Guwahati in the morning.

“Last night, I sent a message to our family and college groups on WhatsApp appealing to cast our votes. I requested all not to miss this opportunity as it is the only option we have with us to decide about our future,” he said.

In Dhubri, hundreds of people travelled in country-made machine boats to reach their polling stations. While most came to the mainland from chars or riverine islands, some people had their booths in the chars as well.

“I waited for a boat since 6 am but could board one only at 7.30 am. There are very few boats compared to the large number of people coming out to vote,” said Rahmat Ali from Mankachar.

Similar is the situation witnessed in char areas of Barpeta district with a large number of people opting for a boat ride to cast their votes.

“I reached the voting centre at 7 am. I am very excited to vote as it is my first time. I am voting for my future and to safeguard the Indian Constitution,” 19-year-old Anowara Rahman said while standing in the queue at a voting centre located in a char.

A total of 81,49,091 people, including 41,00,544 men, 40,48,436 women and 111 persons of third gender, are eligible to vote in the third phase.

Forty-seven candidates, including six women, are in the fray in the four constituencies.

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