Guwahati: Voting has begun in Assam as people are queuing up in 16 districts for the panchayat polls in the state. The polling started at 7 am on Wednesday in most of the polling stations amid tight security.
A total of 97,45,709 voters will exercise their franchise in 14,077 polling booths to decide the fate of 43,515 candidates contesting in the four-tier 15,899 constituencies.

A total of 796 candidates are contesting for 251 zila parishad member constituencies, among which, 3799 candidates for 1304 anchalik panchayat member, 4155 candidates for 1304 gram panchayat president and 34,756 candidates are contesting for 13,040 gram panchayat member constituencies.
The second phase of the rural polls will be held on December 9 and counting of votes will be held on December 12.

This panchayat election is crucial because there is a huge resistance to the proposed Citizenship Amendment Bill and the dilution of the NRC. The fear of Bangladeshis migrating to Assam looms large, and it has seen a revival in terrorism in the state with the ULFA getting a foothold once again.