Guwahati: An estimated 65 per cent of voters in Assam on Monday exercised their franchise in the second and last phase of assembly polls in 64 assembly constituencies amid sporadic incidents of violence.

The polling percentage was expected to go up as voters who already entered the booths were allowed to exercise their franchise even after the end of polling at 3 pm, Election Commission sources said.

The total number of voters in this phase was 96,77,113 and polling was held in 14 central and lower Assam districts.

Polling was disrupted for a brief period at a booth (55) in Katirihara under Jaleswar constituency with police firing in the air to disperse people who resorted to violence when the presiding officer asked them to produce identity cards, the sources said.

EVMs malfunctioning was reported from a booth at Nalbari under Goalpara (West) Assembly constituencies.

Polling was cancelled in four polling stations under Rangiya Assembly constituency in Kamrup (Rural) district after police fired two rounds in the air to disperse agitated voters protesting against alleged high-handedness of security forces.

Incidents of violence, including clashes between rival political parties, were reported from Mazbat, Jagiroad, Sipajhar and Samaguri.

Fourteen NDFB (pro-talk) cadres from a designated camp in Baksa district cast their votes through postal ballots.

Among the prominent candidates in the fray were former Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, Revenue Minister Bhumidhar Barman, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarmah, Forest and Tourism Minister Rockybul Hussain, Transport Minister Chandan Brahma, Agriculture Minister Pramila Rani Brahma and AGP president Chandramohan Patowary.

Polling was held in the districts of Dhubri, Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Goalpara, Barpeta, Kamrup (Metro), Kamrup (Rural), Nalbari, Baksa, Chirang, Udalguri, Darrang, Morigaon and Nagaon.

Peaceful polling for 62 assembly seats was held in the first phase on April 4 which recorded a high voter turnout of nearly 74 per cent.

Women vote in large numbers

First time voters and women on Monday turned out in large numbers to exercise their franchise during the second and last phase polls in 64 assembly seats in 14 districts of Assam.

Women queued up since early morning outside polling booths both in rural and urban areas, Election Commission sources here said.

75-year old Hironmoyee Devi of Guwahati (East) constituency said she had been voting in all the past elections, even when insurgents issued poll boycott calls.

Women in the four districts under the Bodoland Territorial Council outnumbered men in many polling stations, they said.

The number of women contestants in the second phase poll was higher than the first phase with 47 candidates in fray.

Altogether 85 women contested in both phases and in the second phase of polls six sitting MLAs and Agriculture Minister Pramila Rani Brahma were renominated by their respective parties

Prime Minister skips vote

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday gave a miss to his right to vote in the Assam Assembly election. Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur are registered voters in Assam's Dispur Assembly constituency where the polling took place on Monday.

The Prime Minister is a Rajya Sabha member from Assam for the last two decades and a voter of the state since then.

Returning Officer of the constituency J Balaji said the Prime Minister did not exercise his right to cast his vote.

Singh is officially a tenant of former Assam Minister Hemoprava Saikia, widow of former Assam Chief Minister Hiteswar Saikia, though he has never stayed at the Saikia family's Sarumataria house, near the state secretariat complex.

The Prime Minister exercised his franchise at the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, but did give a miss in the 2006 Assam Assembly elections too.

JPN/Agencies