Polling is underway for the Second Phase of Assembly Elections in Assam. Voting began on Thursday at 7 am and will be conducted till 6 pm.

All necessary arrangements have been made to ensure free and fair polling during this phase. The Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) is being used along with Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) at every Polling Station, with a view to enhance the transparency and credibility of the election process.

In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the option of Postal Ballot facility has been extended to the electors who are COVID- 19 positive or suspect as certified by competent authority and are in home or institutional quarantine along with those marked as Persons with Disabilities (PwD) and above the age of 80 years.

Every Polling Station is equipped with Assured Minimum Facilities (AMF) like drinking water, waiting shed, toilet with water facility, adequate arrangements for lighting, ramp of appropriate gradient for the Persons with Disabilities.

In the second phase, 345 candidates including 26 women are in the fray for 39 Assembly Constituencies spread over 13 districts. Over 73.44 lakh voters including 36.09 lakh women and 135 Third Gender persons will decide the fate of these candidates.

A total of 8,998 Polling Stations have been set up for this purpose. BJP has fielded 34 candidates, Congress 28, AJP 19, AIUDF seven, AGP six and BPF has four while 176 independents and others are also trying their luck in this phase.

The prominent faces include BJP Ministers Piyush Hazarika from Jagiroad, Parimal Sukla Baidya from the Dholai and Bhabesh Kalita from Rangia along with Deputy Speaker of Assembly Aminul Haque Laskar from Sonai.

Former Minister Gautam Roy is contesting from Katigorah while former Deputy Speaker Dilip Kumar Paul, who resigned from the BJP after he was denied ticket, is contesting as an Independent from Silchar. Former Minister and Congress leader Sum Ronghang is also in the fray from the Diphu seat. Rajya Sabha MP Biswajit Daimary is contesting from Panery and former Asam Sahitya Sabha President Paramananda Rajbongshi is trying his luck from Sipajhar.

Meanwhile, the election campaign is heating up for the third phase in Assam. The Third Phase of polling will be held on April 6. A total of 338 candidates will be contesting for 40 seats during this phase.