Assam polls: 75 percent turnout in first phase

An estimated 75 percent voters on Monday exercised their franchise in the first phase of the Assam assembly election.

Guwahati: An estimated 75 percent voters on Monday exercised their franchise in the first phase of the
Assam assembly election covering 62 of the 126 constituencies,
which was by and large peaceful.

"The figure is likely to cross 75 per cent as reports
from remote areas are still coming in", Additional Chief
Electoral Officer MC Sahu said to a news agency here.

Deputy Election Commissioner Alok Shukla told reporters
in New Delhi that polling was "very, very peaceful today. No
major incident of violence has taken place".

Today`s poll in Assam marked the start of the democratic
exercise that will also cover Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal
and Puducherry in April and May. While Assam will have
two-phased poll, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry in one
phase and West Bengal in six phases ending on May 10. The vote
count is scheduled for May 13.

Polling was brisk and peaceful and by late afternoon
the turnout figure was about 65 percent which is likely to
increase and touch 75 percent, he said.

Polling personnel are yet to return from remote booths
and then only the exact figure could be ascertained, he

Sahu said the election was by and large peaceful and
there was one incident of clash between the polling agent of a
political party and voters in a polling both in Karimganj
constituency where polling was stopped for sometime.

"The matter has been reported to the Election Commission
which will take a final decision and let us know", he said.

There are 85,09,011 voters in the first phase of
polling while the second phase of election for the rest 64
constituencies will be held on April 11.

A report from Jeraigaon said the mother of absconding
top ULFA leader Paresh Baruah, who is opposed to peace talks
with the government, cast her vote in Assam`s Dibrugarh
district today saying she had always reposed faith in

Her youngest son Bikul Baruah, a school teacher, with
whom she lived, was on election duty as a polling officer. Her
two older sons Bimal Baruah, an employee at the Army`s supply
depot at Panitola, and Pradip Baruah, also an armyman, voted
along with five family members.

A report from Sibsagar/Dibrugarh said overground cadres
of ULFA will not exercise their franchise in Assam assembly
polls though arrangements for postal ballots for them has been
made by the Election Commission.

ULFA Vice-chairman Pradip Gogoi said to a news agency that the outfit
had already announced that it would boycott the polls but not
disturb the poll process.

Shulka said there were a couple of minor incidents like
a clash between supporters of two parties assaulted a polling
personnel by some voters at a polling station where polling
was interrupted.

In a polling station, the polling official did not
press the button in the EVM leading to some discrepancy in the
voting and polling was boycotted in some polling booths on
developmental issues, Shukla said.

A decision on repolling in some of the polling stations
after getting reports from the polling parties, he said.


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