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Assam polls: 70 per cent turnout in second phase

By K Anurag
Last updated on: April 11, 2011 18:59 IST

Over 70 per cent turnout was recorded in the second and final phase of the Assam assembly elections held under tight security in 14 districts amid sporadic incidents of violence.

Serpentine queues were seen in front of polling stations in most places of the 64 constituencies at 15:00 hours, even as polling came to an end. The final polling percentage is likely to go up to around 75 per cent, according to election officials in Guwahati.

Assam's most high-profile voter Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, who is a Rajya Sabha member of Parliament from the state, however, skipped casting his vote at the Dispur Local Authorities Constituency in Kamrup metropolitan district. It may be recalled that he made several rounds of the state for electioneering in the last fortnight.

Complete Coverage: Assembly Elections 2011

Clashes between security personnel and voters at several places marred the otherwise peaceful polling. Reports said that voters clashed with security personnel at Udiyana in the Rangiya constituency, over the alleged highhandedness of security men. The security forces had to baton charge to control the situation as the public went on a rampage damaging official vehicles and the polling station.

Similar clashes were also reported from a polling station in Bhabanipur constituency where tension started brewing following a heated debate over voter identification documents. There was also a squabble at Majbat in Udalguri district, where a policeman allegedly misbehaved with a woman voter. The situation was, however, soon brought under control through the intervention of senior police officials.

In Dhubri, a Central Reserve Police Force jawan allegedly manhandled a voter for clicking a picture using a cellphone camera inside the polling booth. Tension had gripped the polling station before senior CRPF officials reached the spot to pacify the agitated crowd.

Massive security arrangements had been made for the smooth conduct of the second phase of polling with deployment of 340 companies of central paramilitary forces.

A total of 96,78,720 voters, comprising 50,09,483 male and 46,69,237 female, were expected to cast their ballot in the second phase of polling that saw 496 candidates in the fray.

The ruling Congress fielded candidates in all the 64 constituencies, followed by the Bharatiya Janata Party and Trinamool Congress, which were contesting 58 seats. The Asom Gana Parishad fielded candidates in 53 constituencies, followed by the All India United Democratic Front -- 49, Bodoland People's Front -- 26 and Nationalist Congress Party -- 18. There were 110 Independents in fray in the final phase of election.

Polling was held in 12,589 polling stations in 7,910 locations. As many as 2,033 polling stations were identified as hyper-sensitive and 4,175 as sensitive.

Electorate-wise, the largest constituency is Dispur with 3,20,297 voters and the smallest is Chenga with 1,05,368 voters. At 13, Dispur and Sarukhetri constituencies had the highest number of candidates in the fray, while Chapaguri constituency saw a contest of only three candidates.

The high-profile candidates in the second phase included two-time former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, AGP President Chandra Mohan Patowary, Assam Revenue Minister and former CM Dr Bhumidhar Barman and several other state Cabinet ministers, including Dr Himanta Biswa Sharma and Rockybul Hussain. Mahanta is contesting from two LACs -- Barhampur and Samaguri.

The polling for 62 constituencies held in the first phase on April 4, saw a turnout of nearly over 73 per cent. The votes will be counted on May 13.


K Anurag in Guwahati
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