Zee Media Bureau
9:30 pm: Tripura registers 85% turnout, Assam 78%
A high turnout of 85 percent was recorded for one Lok Sabha seat in Tripura, while Assam registered 76 percent in five seats in the first phase of the elections which began peacefully today from the country`s North East, PTI reported. In Tripura, where election was held to the Tripura West Seat, Chief Electoral Officer, Asutosh Jindal said the 85 percent of the electorate voted while polls were incident free. Tezpur recorded 75 per cent voting, Jorhat 76 per cent, Lakhimpur 76, Dibrugarh 70 and Kaliabor 80 per cent. The turnout figure might rise with long queues before polling stations, EC officials said.
6:45 pm: 80 percent voting in Tripura, 72 percent in Assam
Over 80 percent of the electorate in Tripura cast their votes for one seat and 72 per cent Assam in five seats as the massive nine phase Lok Sabha elections began peacefully today from the Northeast, PTI reported. Election department sources in both the states said that the percentage might increase after final computation. In Assam, Tezpur recorded 73 per cent voting, Jorhat 75 per cent, Lakhimpur 67, Dibrugarh 70 and Koliabor 72 per cent.
5:45 pm: Estimated 72 percent votes cast in Assam
An estimated 72 percent of the 64.4 lakh voters exercised their franchise peacefully in five Lok Sabha constituencies in Assam sealing the electoral fate of 51 contestants, including two union ministers in the first phase., PTI reported. Election office sources said that the exact percentage would be available at night as thousands of people were still standing in queues when voting ended at 5 pm. Tezpur recorded 73 per cent voting, Jorhat 75 per cent, Lakhimpur 67, Dibrugarh 70 and Koliabor 72 per cent, the sources said.
4:45 pm: 74 percent votes cast in Tripura till 3 pm
About 74 percent of the electorate cast their votes peacefully till 3:00 pm in the Tripura West Lok Sabha constituency in the first phase of polling in the Left Front ruled state, PTI reported. “Approximately 74 percent voters cast their votes till 3 pm. The election remained completely incident free so far," Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Ashutosh Jindal told reporters. The seat was witnessing a multi-cornered contest among CPI(M), Congress, TMC and the BJP.
3:50 pm: Carnival mood in Assam as youth, women flock to vote
`Rongali Bihu` (Spring festival) seems to have come early to Assam with enthusiastic youth and women voters flocking to the booths in a carnival mood to cast their votes in the first phase of polling in five parliamentary constituencies today, PTI reported. Tea garden workers, mostly women, in Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Kaliabor and Tezpur in Upper Assam, dressed in their colourful best, were seen queueing outside the booths since 6 am, an hour before polling began.
3:00 pm: Over 49% polling in Assam in first 6 hrs
Over 49 percent of voters Monday cast their ballot in the first six hours of polling in five Lok Sabha constituencies in Assam, officials said.
Monday`s polling kick-stated the nine-phase 16th Lok Sabha polls in the country.
As balloting began from 7 am, people queued up at polling stations in the state`s five constituencies - Tezpur, Jorhat, Kaliabor, Dibrugarh and Lakhimpur. Brisk polling was seen barring a few booths where the process was delayed due to technical snags in the electronic voting machines (EVMs).
The overall polling percentage in the five constituencies was 49.64 percent till 1 pm, Assam`s chief electoral officer said.
2:30 pm: 60% polling in Tripura till 2 pm
Around 60 percent of the electorate had cast their votes till 2 pm Monday as polling was held in one of the two constituencies in Left-ruled Tripura, an official said.
Balloting took place in Tripura West constituency. No untoward incident has been reported so far, the official said.
"Long queues of people were seen in most of the 1,605 polling stations as soon as voting began at 7 am. Clear sky with excellent weather encouraged voters to come to the polling booths early," Tripura Chief Electoral Officer Ashutosh Jindal told IANS.
Balloting will continue till 5 pm, but can be allowed beyond the stipulated time if voters arrive at the polling stations by 5 pm, he said.
"In some polling booths, due to technical snags in electronic voting machines, voting was delayed for a while, but engineers either replaced or rectified the EVMs and balloting started as usual," Jindal said.
1:20 pm: 35% votes cast till noon in Assam
Thirty-five per cent of the 64,41,634 voters exercised their franchise till noon Monday in five Lok Sabha constituencies of Assam where four persons clashed with CRPF personnel demanding that they be allowed to cast their vote first in Kaliabor constituency.
Election office sources said 27 per cent voting was registered in Tezpur, 45 per cent in Jorhat, 32 per cent in Lakhimpur, 38 per cent in Dibrugarh and 30 per cent in Koliabor during the first phase of elections in the state.
With a large turnout of voters, long queues were seen in front of the 8,588 polling stations one hour before voting began at 7 am, particularly in the rural areas where poll campaigning was intense.
A considerable number of the 6.5 lakh first time voters in the age group of 18 to 19 years registered in the state this time, were seen enthusiastically lining up to participate in the poll process.
Most of the early morning voters were women who said they wanted to cast their ballot before they began their housework for the day.
According to reports reaching here, 33 electronic voting machines (EVMs) malfunctioned in Dibrugarh, Kaliabor, Tezpur and Lakhimpur constituencies. Of them, 29 were later replaced while snags in the others were rectified and voting continued uninterrupted, they said.
Four persons, including a woman, suffered injuries when they clashed with CRPF personnel demanding they will allowed to cast their vote early at a voting centre in Sarupathar Silonijan area of Kaliabor constituency, police said.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, his wife Dolly Gogoi as well as his son and Koliabor constituency Congress candidate Gaurav Gogoi cast their vote in Jorhat.
Talking to reporters after casting his vote, the Chief Minister asserted that the Congress would sweep the polls in the state winning more than ten seats.
There is "no Modi magic but Tarun Gogoi magic in Assam. Earlier, I had said we will win ten seats but now I am sure the Congress will get more than that", he said. - PTI
1:00 pm: 41% votes cast in Tripura till mid-day
Forty-one percent of the 12,46,794 voters exercised their franchise till noon in Tripura West Lok Sabha Constituency today, amid complaints of malfunctioning of EVMs at some places.
Of the two constituencies - Tripura West and Tripura East (ST), election is being held in Tripura West constituency today.
CPI-M state secretary Bijan Dhar said people were enthusiastic about casting their votes.
BJP state unit president Sudhindra Chandra Dasgupta and the party`s contestant from the seat said some EVM machines were not working in some polling stations of the capital.
When contacted, election officials said a few EVMs were not working in the beginning in some polling stations but those were either immediately replaced or repaired by the election department.
Polling for the Tripura East (ST) seat will be held on April 12. - PTI
11.15 am: 25% voting in Assam till 10 am, 15% in Tripura
Over 25 percent of the 64,41,634 voters exercised their franchise during the first three hours of polling to decide the fate of 51 candidates in five Lok Sabha seats in Assam. Meanwhile, about fifteen percent votes were cast within two hours of voting in Tripura West Lok Sabha constituency.
10.00 am: 12% polling in first two hours in Assam
The state of Assam recorded 12 percent voting in the first two hours as balloting for five Lok Sabha constituencies began this morning at 7 am, according to state election officials.
8:30 am: Polling underway in first phase of LS polls in Assam
The first phase of the Lok Sabha elections in five seats in Assam began Monday on a peaceful note.
The Congress, BJP, Trinamool Congress, AIUDF, AGP, AAP, SUCI, CPI(M), AIFB and SP are contesting in the five seats in Tezpur, Koliabor, Jorhat, Dibrugarh and Lakhimpur in the Congress-ruled state.
Among the 51 candidates, Union ministers Ranee Narah and Paban Singh Ghatowar, former Union minister and sitting MLA Bijoy Krishna Handique, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi`s son Gourav Gogoi and Bhupen Kumar Bora are for the Congress.
Congress rebel and Independent candidate Moni Kumar Subba is also in the fray.
For the BJP, its unit president Sorbananda Sonowal and Kamakhya Prasad Tasa are contesting while AGP`s nominees are Arun Kumar Sarma, Pradip Hazarika and Joseph Toppo.
An electorate of 64,41,634, including 31,20,067 women, are expected to exercise their franchise at 8,588 polling stations.
For the first time in the Northeast region and the third time in the country after Kashmir and Bihar, all polling booths have been declared smoking free.
Security measures have been tightened for the polls with additional companies of security forces deployed.
The next phase of the polls will be held on April 12 for three Lok Sabha seats.
8:15 am: Lok Sabha elections begin in Tripura
Polling for the Tripura West Lok Sabha seat began today in the Left Front-ruled state that has two parliamentary constituencies.
The seat will witness a multi-cornered contest among the CPI(M), the Congress, the TMC and the BJP.
Among the 13 candidates, major contestants are CPI(M)`s Shankar Prasad Dutta, secretary of the state unit of CITU, Congress` Arunoday Saha, former vice-chancellor of Tripura Central University, Sudhindra Dasgupta, BJP`s state unit chief and chairman of the state unit of TMC and former minister Ratan Chakraborty.
The CPI(M) has won the seat ten out of 15 times between 1952 and 2009. Since 1996 the CPI(M) has consistently won this seat.
Of the 12,46,794 voters, 634702 are male and the remaining female.
Altogether 1,605 polling stations have been set up for the constituency of which only two have been identified as very vulnerable, 486 as vulnerable.
The Election Commission has set up nine all-women polling stations considering the track record of good performance by women personnel.
An additional 35 companies of security forces have been dispatched by the EC for deployment along with the state police.
The BSF has deployed additional forces along the 856 km Indo-Bangla international border.
Polling for the East Tripura (ST Reserve) seat will be held on April 12.
7:00 am: Voting begins for first phase of Lok Sabha polls 2014
The nine-phase staggered elections to the Lok Sabha kicks off Monday with one constituency in Tripura and five in Assam going to polls in the first phase of General Elections 2014.
Voting today will be held from 7 am to 5 pm in the six constituencies in the two states.
The six are among 543 constituencies where polling will take place from April 7 to May 12. The ballot count will be held May 16, and the results declared same day.
The balloting for the remaining seats will be held April 12 (three in Assam and one in Tripura) and April 24 (six in Assam).
The Congress rules in Assam, while Tripura has the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)) led Left Front in power.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, and the Asom Gana Parishad are among the parties with significant presence in Assam, while the Trinamool Congress of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is trying to get a foothold in both these states. Several other local parties are also present.
An estimated 6.4 million people are eligible to vote Monday to pick representatives to the Lok Sabha from Tezpur, Jorhat, Kaliabor, Dibrugarh and Lakhimpur constituencies in Assam.
According to the Election Commission, a total of 51 candidates are in the fray Monday in Assam, where balloting will be held in 8,588 centres.
Police and paramilitary forces have stepped up security, more so because April 7 coincides with the Raising Day of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA).
"There is no specific threat for the election but we cannot take chances," said a senior Assam Police official, adding 240 companies of Assam Police and paramilitary forces have been deployed.
Ten candidates are in the fray in Jorhat, nine in Tezpur, 13 each in Kaliabor and Lakhimpur and six candidates in Dibrugarh.
Among the prominent candidates in Assam are lottery baron Mani Kumar Subba (independent), Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi`s son Gourav Gogoi, outgoing Congress MP Bijoy Krishna Handique, veteran Communist Drupad Borgohain, BJP state president Sarbananda Sonowal, union Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Ranee Narah, Mamud Imdadul Haque Choudhury of All India United Democratic Front, union minister Paban Singh Ghatowar, Rameswar Teli of the BJP and Anoop Phukan of the AGP.
The West Tripura constituency goes to the polls Monday. Election in the tribal reserved Tripura East constituency will be held April 12.
According to officials, 1.2 million voters are eligible to vote Monday to pick a Lok Sabha member from 13 candidates, including a woman. Almost all the candidates are fresh contenders.
In 2009, the CPI-M`s Khagen Das won the seat defeating Congress`s Sudip Roy Barman (currently state`s opposition leader) by 248,549 votes.
The Left has won from West Tripura 11 times since the first Lok Sabha election of 1952 and the Congress four times. The Congress For Democracy, a breakaway faction of the Congress, secured the seat in 1977.
The ruling CPI-M this time dropped both its sitting MPs - Das and Bajuban Reang (East Tripura), who has won the seat a record seven times since 1980.
This time the main battle in the constituency will be between CPI-M`s trade union leader Sankar Prasad Datta and Congress` Arunoday Saha, a former vice chancellor of Tripura University, a central varsity.
BJP state president Sudhindra Chandra Dasgupta, Trinamool`s state chief Ratan Chakraborty, Tripura Pragatishil Gramin Congress (TPGC) president Subal Bhowmik and Aam Aadmi Party`s Salil Saha, a physician, are the other important aspirants.
Both Chakraborty and Bhowmik, former Congress legislators, left the party last year and formed Tripura unit of the Trinamool and TPGC respectively.
The CPI-M is focusing on the development work it has done in Tripura, while attacking the Congress for poor governance, price rise and corruption in the country.
The opposition is harping on misgovernance, unemployment and rising crimes against women.
Tripura Chief Electoral Officer Ashutosh Jindal said the Border Security Force (BSF) would seal the India-Bangladesh border during the polls.
"Helicopters would be pressed into service and mobile surveillance squads of the security forces would be in force to closely oversee the polling," Jindal told.
He said polling officials have left Sunday for the 1,605 polling stations.
With Agency Inputs