Guwahati: Over 70 per cent votes were cast till 3 PM in the second and final phase of polling in 61 Assembly constituencies of Assam on Monday to decide the fate of 525 contestants.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, representing Assam in Rajya Sabha since 1991, came from Delhi to cast his ballot at Dispur Government High School here.
Indian boxer from Assam Shiva Thapa along with his family members cast his vote. He said he had come here from his ongoing training outside Assam as participating in the democratic process "is a big responsibility for each one of us and all should come out to vote".
Many of the voters stood in queues since 3 AM at all the 12,699 polling stations where polling is being held to be among the first five when booths opened at 7 AM. The district election administrations will felicitate them with medals to encourage voting.
Though polling was by and large peaceful, an incident of firing in the air by CPRF took place at a polling station at Chaygaon in Kamrup district.
The firing took place following protests over a force personnel allegedly "misbehaving" with a pregnant voter to prevent her from returning to the booth after casting vote to pick up her child whom she had left behind.
The entire team of CRPF deployed in the polling station was replaced after the incident, the district superintendent of police Prasanta Saikia said.
In Barpeta district one person died and three others, including two CRPF personnel, were injured in a clash between the central force and voters at Safarkumar polling station in Sorbhog constituency over forming a queue for casting vote.
A scuffle had broken out when the CRPF personnel asked voters to stand in a queue, which led to arguments and jostling, district election officials said.
In the scuffle four persons were injured including an 80-year old voter, a CRPF Assistant Commandant and constable Amarjeet. They were rushed to Barpeta Medical College Hospital where the octogenarian was declared dead.
Voting in both the polling stations, however, continued uninterrupted, the election office sources said.
There were also reports of malfunctioning of the electronic voting machines (EVMs) in some polling centres
across middle and lower Assam and they were replaced immediately, election office said.
For the first time a Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machine was introduced in ten Assam constituencies, including Guwahati under Kamrup (Metro) district.
CCTV cameras and web casting facilities were also arranged by the election authority to ensure free and fair
Among those in the fray on Monday are cabinet ministers Rakibul Hussain, Chandan Sarkar and Nazrul Islam from Congress, AGP leader and former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta and BJP national spokesman Sidhartha Bhattacharya.
Also in the fray is former Congress minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who had led a dissidence movement against Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and joined BJP last year.
Among the 477 men and 48 women contestants are 57 Congress, 35 BJP, its allies AGP 19 and BPF 10, 47 AIUDF, nine CPM, five CPI, 129 from unrecognised parties and 214 Independents.
Over 50,000 persons manned the polling booths with security personnel guarding them, while security measures were reinforced along the international boundary with Bangladesh and Bhutan.
Mahanta, BPF chief Hagrama Mohilary and AIUDF president Badruddin Ajmal who has claimed to be the king-maker in the formation of the next government, also cast their votes.
The first phase of polling in the state on 4 April had witnessed an 82.20 per cent voter turnout in 65 of the 126 Assembly constituencies spread across upper Assam, two hill districts and Barak Valley.