Guwahati: Over 50 per cent voter turnout has been registered till 2 pm, as polling for 80 civic bodies in Assam progressed peacefully on Sunday, a State Election Commission official said.

Though the voting percentage was low at 20.73 per cent in the first three hours of polling, which commenced at 8 am, it has been on an increasing trend, he said.

Voting will end at 4 pm. The voter turnout till 2 pm has been 50.23 per cent, the official said.

Electronic Voting Machines are being used for the first time in the history of civic elections in the state.

No report of any untoward incident has yet been received, the official said.

Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, state cabinet ministers Atul Bora and Jogen Mohan, and Rajya Sabha MP and former state Congress chief Ripun Bora were among those who cast their votes during the day.

Municipal elections are an important step towards ensuring public participation in governance of urban areas. As polls to urban local bodies are being held across Assam today, I urge everyone to exercise their democratic right for determining their future, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma tweeted.

Polling is underway for 977 wards in 80 civic bodies across 24 districts of the state, amid tight security and strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols, the official said.

A total of 2,532 candidates are in the fray, with the ruling BJP having the maximum number of 825 nominees.

At least 706 candidates are contesting on Congress tickets, while the Asom Gana Parishad nominated 243 hopefuls.

The number of eligible voters is 16,73,899, comprising 8,41,534 women and 17 transgenders.

The counting of votes will take place on March 9.

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