Polling for Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC), being held after a gap of nine years, began on a brisk note on Friday morning. People queued up in front of the polling stations under a clear sky to elect their new councillors. Altogether 197 candidates are in the fray in 57 wards, while BJP candidates in three wards have already been elected uncontested.
Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are being used for all the wards under the GMC for the first time. A total electorate of 7,96,829, comprising 3,96,891 males, 3,99,91 females and 27 of the third gender, is eligible to exercise their franchise. The counting of votes will be undertaken on April 24. Political parties had gone all out to woo the voters, promising a flood-free and crime-free city with piped water to all households and all other basic civic amenities, in the run-up to the polls. Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma led the BJP’s election campaign, addressing multiple rallies across the city, while the saffron party’s coalition partner at Dispur, Asom Gana Parishad’s (AGP), campaign was helmed by Agriculture Minister and party president Atul Bora.
The BJP has fielded candidates in 53 wards while the AGP is contesting in the remaining seven. Assam Pradesh Congress Committee chief Bhupen Borah led the state’s main Opposition party on its campaign trail. The Congress has put up candidates in 54 wards. The other parties were also not to be left behind with Aam Aadmi Party bringing in its Delhi MLA Atishi Marlena to woo voters, while Assam Jatiya Parishad had its chief Lurinjyoti Gogoi leading the campaign.
Besides door-to-door canvassing and rallies, the parties took out car and bike rallies through the streets of the city with the campaign reaching its crescendo on Wednesday, when the campaign ended. The notification for elections to the 60 wards of GMC was issued on March 23 and the model code of conduct came into force with immediate effect.