Violence in Assam rural poll

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Guwahati, Jan 09(UNI) Major violence in the Barak valley today marred the third and final phase of the Panchayat poll in Assam, which otherwise saw about 70 per cent voting.

About 55 people were wounded as Congress supporters and Assam United Democratic Front(AUDF) clashed in Karimganj district, while in the Hailakandi district, due to lack of security forces, violence erupted from small brawls among polling personnel.

Official source here said that it was free for all in the entire Karimganj district, which is highly communally sensitive. Congress supporters and the AUDF clashed in Ram Krishna Nagar, Moina, Shaidvani, Sarisa, Bazar Ghat.

About 45 of them received major cut injuries, while another 250 received minor injuries and the situation remained tense throughout the day.

In the neighbouring Halikandi districts, the polling personnel of 20 polling booths returned to the district headquarters this morning, fearing attack as there were no security arrangement for them.

Angry polling personnel dumped polling materials before the district election office of Hailakandi and burnt them, forcing police to resort to lathicharge. Fire brigades had been pressed into service to douse the fire.

All political parties demanded complete repolling in the entire district, compelling the administration to bring in paramilitary forces.

However, in the Brahmaputra Valley, situation seemed better as poling was held amidst tight security, following clashes between political rival groups, especially in the run-up to this phase of polling.

State election commission sources informed that repolling could be ordered in a few places depending on the report of the observers.

Polling was held in Dhubri, Bongaigaon, Barpeta, Nalbari, Nagaon, and parts of Marigaon districts.

The voters today sealed the fate of 141 Zila Parishad members, 741 Anchalik Panchayat members and gaon panchayat presidents and 7410 gaon panchayat members.

More than 42.65 lakh voters exercised their franchise to decide the fate of over 37,000 candidates in 7480 polling stations. The state election commission had appointed 19 observers for this phase.

More than 70 per cent votes were polled in the first phase on December 31, while the percentage was around 72 in the second phase on January 4.

Polls in Darrang district will be held on January 24 and counting of votes for the entire state is slated for January 28.

Elections in Goalpara district had been postponed in view of deteriorating the law and order situation. Till date no decision had been taken on holding of the polls in the district.

UNI MT-SG LL DB1925

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