Guwahati/Agartala, Apr 7: Election for the 16th Lok Sabha underway for the first phase in five constituencies of Assam and one in Tripura.
Voting began at 7 a.m. and will continue till 5 p.m. In Assam, polling is taking place for five parliamentary constituencies which are Kaliabor, Dibrugarh, Lakhimpur, Jorhat, and Tezpur. In Tripura, the lone constituency is Tripura (West).
A total 51 candidates are in the fray in the first phase, some of the prominent among them being Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s son Gourav Gogoi, Union Minister Paban Singh Ghatowar, Union Minister Ranee Narah, state Bharatiya Janata Party president Sarbananda Sonowal and sitting Asom Gana Parishad MP Joseph Toppo.
In the Left Front-ruled Tripura, the election will witness a multi-cornered contest among CPI(M), Congress, Trinamool Congress and the BJP.
There are 13 candidates in the fray in West Tripura. Some of the prominent among them are CPI(M)’s Shankar Prasad Dutta, secretary of the state unit of CITU; Congress’ Arunoday Saha, former vice-Chancellor of Tripura Central University; Sudhindra Dasgupta,BJP’s state unit chief; and Chairman of the state unit of TMC and former minister Ratan Chakraborty.
Election Commission has made elaborate arrangements to ensure free and fair polling.
In Assam, armed security forces have been deployed at over 1,200 polling stations. Two helicopters have also been pressed into service. The EC has deployed micro observers at 743 polling stations.
In Tripura, besides State Police, 35 companies of central para-military forces have been deployed to ensure peaceful polling. Indo-Bangladesh border has been sealed and section 144 has been invoked to check the entry of anti-social elements and militants from across the border.
The election to elect the 16th Lok Sabha from a total of 543 seats will be held in nine phases.
The last poll day is May 12 and the counting of votes will take on May 16, well ahead of expiry of the five-year term of the current Lok Sabha on May 31. (ANI)