Over 60 per cent voters turnout in Arunachal

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Itanagar, May 26 (UNI) Over 60 per cent electorate today exercised their franchise in the three-tier Panchayat elections in Arunachal Pradesh today, even as sporadic incidents of violence were reported from many parts of the State.

Though the turnout of the voters was thin during the morning hours due to inclement weather, it improved gradually as the day progressed. Long queues of people were reported in many polling stations even after 1600 hours, the scheduled deadline for polling. Tawang district recorded the highest percentage of voters turnout with 80 per cent while the other districts recorded over 60 per cent. However, reports from many districts were awaited.

The polling which began at 0700 hours in the morning was largely peaceful barring stray incidents of violence, according to State Election Commission (SEC) sources. Minor clashes broke out among supporters of the Congress, the BJP and Independent candidates in six polling stations at Seppa under East Kameng district, while two similar incidents were also reported from Kurung Kumey district.

In a polling station at Tarajuli under Papum Pare district, an NCP GP candidate was injured when he tried to smash a door and pour water into a ballot box, the sources informed, adding that repolling would be held May at this station.

Polling was not recorded in Hashe Russa anchal segments under Kanubari circle in Tirap district as booths were shifted to other locations following protests from Assam officials as the area falls in disputed Asom-Arunachal boundary.

Polling was being held for 127 zila parishad members (ZPM) seats (out of total 161), 973 anchal samiti members (ASM) (total 1,778) and 2,104 gram panchayats (GP) seats out of total 7,425.

However, bypoll would be conducted in 169 GP seats and one each in ASM and ZPM, as these seats remained vacant following non-filing of nominations or cancellation of election papers.

Altogether 5,142 GP elected unopposed, including 803 ASM and 33 ZPMs.

The ruling Congress made a clean sweep in the uncontested seats bagging all the ZPM seats besides 787 ASM and 4, 954 GP.

In all, 134 GP seats and 18 ASM were bagged mostly by Independents including a few by the BJP, the NCP and the People's Party of Arunachal(PPA).

Out of 1,852 stations, polling was held in 1,618 booths since 234 stations were uncontested.

The State government had deployed six companies of CRPF besides two battalions each of Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) and State police to conduct peaceful polling.

Moreover, Assam Rifles and Indo Tibetan Border Police were also deployed in some districts to maintain the law and order. Special security measures were also undertaken in sensitive Kurung Kumey, Upper Subansiri, East Kameng, Papum Pare, Tirap and Changlang districts.

Out of the contested seats, altogether 3, 541 GP candidates are fighting the polls on the Congress tickets, the BJP has 91, the NCP (25), the PPA (2), the RJD (8) and independent 1,138.

For ASM, the Congress has put up 602 candidates, the BJP (10), the NCP (5) and Independent (123).

However, In ZPM seats, Congress has fielded candidates in all the 127 seats, while BJP and Independents were fighting in around 40 per cent seats.

Counting of votes would be held simultaneously in all the notified counting centers at 0900 hours on June two.

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