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Natural causes lead to re-polling

Written by: Staff

Guwahati, Apr 5: When man fails, nature strikes. Though the statement sounds like a dialogue straight out of a movie, it summaries the reason for re-polling in Asom's first phase of polls.

The first phase of Asom polls on April 3 was out of a textbook, a model for all states to emulate.

No violence or booth capturing was reported. Polling went along more smoothly than one could have imagined.

Insurgents, who for long blocked all democratic exercises in the states, did nothing to disrupt the polling. Yet re-polling would take place in five booths today.

The main cause leading to it - nature.

As Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) J P Prakash put it, ''Man hardly did anything to prevent polling this time, it was nature which stood in our way.'' Re-polling in two stations in Karimganj (North) had been ordered.

It was necessitated as the bus returning with the polling materials skidded off the road due to heavy rains and fell into a rivulet.

One of the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) could be recovered before any damage was caused. However, water got into the remaining two EVMs, leading to re-polling.

Reaching the polling booths was smooth for the polling personnel.

But inclement weather while returning caused much delay and problem for them.

The CEO said, ''Reaching the booths was easy as the weather was dry. But with showers during the polling day and the night before in many areas, rivers and streams were flowing. This caused some delay.'' The polling personnel from a booth in Sadiya could report with the polling materials late at night.

Two EVMs were used only in five booths of the total 9723 booths in the first phase. ''With over 9,700 EVMs pressed into service, malfunctioning of only five machines can not be called a major technical failure,'' Mr Prakash added.

The 'biggest' incident in the first phase was the damage of an EVM at the hands of some miscreants.

The CEO informed that an EVM in Chabua was 'mishandled' by miscreants and it got damaged.

With only nature causing trouble for the Election Commission in the first phase, the department was only wishing that even this factor would not be there in the second phase on April 10.


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