Assam peaceful.

Assam peaceful.

Over 82 % polling in final phase of voting in Assam; no incidents of violence

Double trouble! 181 votes cast against 90 valid voters in Assam booth; 6 suspended

Agency Report | Guwahati | 6 April, 2021 | 11:00 PM

More than 82 per cent of the total 79,19,641 voters exercised their franchise in the third and final phase of the Assam Assembly polls, held in 40 constituencies amid tight security on Tuesday.

Election officials said that till 6 p.m., when voting officially ended, 82.28 per cent turnout was recorded but the percentage would increase a little bit after the reports of all the returning officers were compiled.

The final phase has decided the fate of 337 candidates, including 25 women aspirants. All Covid-19 protocols including social distancing and thermal screening are being maintained.

Election officials said that except some minor incidents, no major untoward incident was reported from anywhere of the 12 western Assam districts, bordering Bhutan, West Bengal and Arunachal Pradesh, where polling took place peacefully and smoothly.

The voters — comprising men, women and the first time electorate — queued up in large numbers in front of polling stations well before they opened at 7 a.m. The Election Commission has extended an hour for polling in view of the Covid-19 induced situations.

According to the state’s Chief Electoral Officer Nitin Khade, a total of 79,19,641 voters, including 39,07,963 women voters, are eligible to cast their ballots across 9,587 polling stations in 6,107 locations. Of the 9,587 polling stations, 316 are all-women managed polling stations.

Khade told the media that around 32,000 Central Armed Police Forces, along with thousands of state security force personnel, have been deployed to maintain law and order during this phase in which 45,604 polling personnel were engaged to conduct the polls.

Tuesday’s electoral battle was crucial for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition Congress as both won 11 seats each in the 2016 Assembly polls. The BJP’s ally Asom Gana Parishad had bagged four seats, while the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) and All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) had secured eight and six seats, respectively.

Both the BPF and the AIUDF this time are part of the Congress-led ‘Mahajot’ (grand alliance). In the last elections, the BPF was with the BJP and the AIUDF fought independently.

Tuesday’s polling also decided the fate of five state ministers including finance, health, education, PWD Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, industry minister Chandra Mohan Patowary, Guwahati Department Minister Siddhartha Bhattacharya and the ruling party’s state President Ranjeet Kumar Dass.

Sarma, convener of the BJP backed anti-Congress body North East Democratic Alliance, is contesting from the Jalukbari seat from where he has consecutively won since 2001.

Meanwhile, Dass is contesting from the Patacharkuchi seat. In the 2016 elections, he was elected to the Assembly from Sorbhog constituency.

Nearly 81 per cent of the 73,44,631 voters exercised their franchise in the second phase across 39 constituencies on April 1.

Around 80 per cent of 81,09,815 voters cast their votes on March 27 in the first phase in 47 constituencies. The results will be declared on May 2.

Tuesday’s balloting would decide the fate of 337 candidates, including 25 women aspirants.
All Covid-19 protocols for the voters including social distancing and thermal screening are being maintained.

Election officials said that no untoward incident was reported from anywhere of the 12 western Assam districts, bordering Bhutan, West Bengal and Arunachal Pradesh, where balloting is underway peacefully and smoothly.

The voters comprising men, women and the first time electorates, in large numbers queued up in front of the polling stations well before they opened at 7 a.m.

The polling would continue till 6 p.m. without any break as the Election Commission has extended an hour in view of the Covid-19 induced situations.

At least six polling personnel were suspended in Assam’s Dima Hasao district after it was found that a booth with 90 valid voters registered 181 votes during the second phase of polls on April 1, officials said on Tuesday.

Election officials said that repolling would be held at the auxiliary polling station — 107-A Khothlir L.P. School – under the Haflong Assembly constituency in Dima Hasao district.

Assam Chief Electoral Officer Nitin Khade said that as per the valid electoral roll, there are only 90 electors against the polling station but 181 people had cast their votes at the polling station on April 1.

“During the scrutiny of the Presiding Officer’s diary and other documents, it was found that the Presiding Officer and the Polling Officers of 107-A Khothlir L.P. School have allowed 181 persons to cast their votes against the total 90 voters,” the CEO said.

Khade in a statement said that taking note of the lapse, the District Election Officer has suspended the Sector Officer, the Presiding Officer and three other polling officers and a Booth Level Officer of the polling station for dereliction of duty.

“The Returning Officer through the District Election Officer has recommended re-poll at the polling station.

“The Auxiliary Polling Station No. 107-A, has been created for the first time to facilitate the voters in the remote area, as the polling percentage in the last Parliamentary election was only 34 per cent,” Khade added. (IANS)