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Asom votes with I-card first time

Written by: Staff
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Guwahati, Apr 3 (UNI) Asom today voted for the first time with mandatory I-Cards, barring some hiccups in Upper Asom.

The Election Commission (EC) had not been able to issue Voter's Photo Identity Cards in the state due to never ending debate on the illegal infiltrators, who had made their way into electoral rolls.

The AASU had never allowed it till the whole roll was cleared thoroughly.

However, with the EC directives making it compulsory for all voters to identify themselves at the polling booths, the EC had come out with a new set of documents for the state.

The EC had issued a list of documents, numbering more than 20, and had even authorised the Gaonburahs (village headmen) to issue I-cards in the rural areas.

Political parties and others had expressed doubts that the mandatory I-card would prove to be a deterrent to the voters. But all such fears were put to rest when the people turned out in a large number to cast their ballots, particularly in the rural areas.

Extensive publication in newspapers and visual media regarding the list of identification documents was seen as the reason behind clear notion among the people.

The election officials were also found to be highly accommodative and helpful in the matter. They tried their best to ensure that the voters were not turned back due to lack of identification document, remaining within the ambit of EC guidelines.

Mr Ashok Saikia, a voter in Guwahati (East) constituency, said, ''I have come with my wife and two children. The electricity bill in my name sufficed for us to cast the vote. '' Another voter in Dispur constituency, Ms Arati Sharma adds,'' I had no document in my name, but the telephone bill in my husband's name was enough.'' But not all was smooth in some places. According to reports, polling in three booths in Tinsukia district had to be stopped temporarily as the voters failed to produce the necessary identification documents.

Disruption of polling in some other booths across the state was reported owing to confusion among some voters regarding the I-cards.

However, most cases were sorted out with the Polling Officers explaining to the people the nature of documents that were permissible.

UNI SG-MT SJC PK RS1509

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