Over 65 per cent votes cast in 2nd phase Panchayat polls

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Guwahati, Jan 4 (UNI) The second phase of Panchayat election in Assam today saw an unprecedented turnout with over 65 per cent voters exercising their franchise.

No major incident of violence was reported during the polling with the government conducting the polls amidst tight security.

In a poll-related incident in Sonitpur district, public attacked former Congress MLA from Sootea Praneswar Basumatary near Chengamari and damaged his vehicle after he allegedly tried to rig the polls.

Police had to fire several rounds in the air to disperse the crowd, though none was injured.

In another incident in Gohpur subdivision in the district, unidentified miscreants snatched away ballot papers from the presiding officer and threw those into the Brahmaputra.

Polling had been postponed in seven panchayat segments in the area following the incident.

Re-polling could be ordered at a few more places, state Election Commission sources said.

As many as 70 per cent had exercised their franchise in the first phase and the final figure in the second phase was also estimated to be similar.

The second phase polls included Sonitpur, Kamrup (metro and rural) districts and parts of Barpeta, Morigaon and Nagaon district of middle and lower Assam.

More than 35 lakh voters will decide the fate of over 26,000 candidates, vying for 113 zilla parishads, 623 anchalik parishads, 6,199 gaon panchayat members and 623 gaon panchayat presidents.

Polling in Goalpara district, scheduled for the second phase, was postponed following poll-related violence in the district on Wednesday, which left eight dead.

The first phase was held on December 31 in the upper Assam districts, while the third phase is slated for January nine in lower Assam district and in Darrang district on January 24.

Counting of votes would take place on January 28.

UNI SG SJC SHB HT1900

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