Nearly 22% of the 29,26,762 electorate exercised their franchise peacefully in the first three hours of polling for three Lok Sabha constituencies in Assam on Saturday.
Voting commenced at 7 am and Karimganj (SC) recorded 25% polling, Silchar 20% and Autonomous District (ST) comprising Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao district 20% voting, said election office sources.
There were reports of EVM initially malfunctioning in Autonomous District (ST) and Karimganj constituencies. They were replaced and voting continued uninterrupted, the sources said.
Long queues of voters, including women and youth, were seen in front of the 3,698 polling booths of the three constituencies an hour before voting began amdist tight security, especially in Karbi Anglong district which till yesterday witnessed a bandh by militant Karbi Peoples Liberation Tigers.
The prominent candidates are sitting Congress MPs of Karimganj(SC) and Autonomous Districts(ST) Lalit Mohan Suklabaidya and Biren Singh Ingti respectively, Silchar's sitting BJP MP and former union minister Kabindra Purukayastha and Congress MLA from Silchar and former union minister Santosh Mohan Dev's daughter Sushmita Dev.
For the first time in the Northeast and the third time in the country after Kashmir and Bihar, all polling booths have been declared smoking free.
The state election office is webcasting the voting process polling station-wise.
The next phase of polls will be held on April 24 for the remaining six Lok Sabha seats.