Over 70% turnout in Assam polls’ second phase; 22 hurt in violence



Guwahati: Barring some clashes and police firing that injured 22 people, the second and last phase of Assembly polls in Assam passed off peacefully on Monday with a voter turnout of 70.35 per cent.

At least 22 people were injured and one of them was hospitalised as forces baton charged voters and fired in air twice to scare away a rampaging mob which torched a police vehicle in Rangiya, official sources said.

Sporadic incidents of violence were also reported from Mazbat, Sipajhar, Dhubri, Jagiroad and Samoguri seats.

Giving details of polling percentage and other incidents, Deputy Election Commissioner Alok Shukla said in Delhi that there were clashes between voters and Central security forces at four polling stations.

Seven persons, including three women, were injured as BSF men beat up some people at polling stations under Rangiya constituency of Kamrup (Rural) district, following rumour that rigging was taking place.

This infuriated people as a mob soon gathered, pelted stones, ransacked the polling booths, set ablaze a parked police vehicle and damaged three others.

Police then baton charged the crowd and fired in the air but people refused to budge demanding that the BSF men remove their uniform and apologise to the public, sources said.

As police fired in the air for the second time to scare away the protesters, 15 people tripped while running away from the spot with one referred to the GMC Hospital.

Polling was stopped in the voting centre and election officials left with the EVMs and polling materials, they said.

Polling was vitiated in another polling station when some persons forcibly entered and cast 11 votes, Shukla said.

While there were clashes in one or two polling stations, polling parties were changed in three places following allegations of bias, he said, adding polling was boycotted in two places.

"Till 5.30 pm, well beyond two hours of scheduled end of polling at 3.00 pm, the poll percentage was 70.35," Assam's Additional Chief Electoral Officer M C Sahu said here.

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

Fate of heavyweights including two-time former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta and senior ministers Himanta Biswa Sarma and Rockybul Hussain will be decided in the second phase.

Polling for 62 Assembly constituencies was held on April 4 in a peaceful manner in the first phase which witnessed a 73.03 per cent voter turnout.

PTI