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60 pc polling in Asom despite torrents, violence

By Super
|

Guwahati, Apr 10: Braving the heavy downpour, an estimated 60 per cent of 8.2 million electorate exercised their right to franchise till afternoon in the second and final phase of the Asom assembly elections even as sporadic violence took place in the tribal-dominated areas of Bodos and Karbis.

Although the polling, across 61 constituencies, was largely peaceful in the valley areas, reports of isolated incidents of group clashes and attempted rigging by the former militants were received from the Karbi hills and areas near the Indo-Bhutan border.

Initially, the turnout was meagre as sporadic showers and a heavily-overcast sky kept voters away from the polling booths.

However, the people started queuing up at booths after the weather improved.

An 8.2 million strong electorate, including 3.98 lakh women voters, would decide the fate of 482 candidates, 451 male and 31 female, who are in the fray in polls to the 126-member state Assembly.

Earlier, incidents of pre-poll violence, particularly clashes between rival political factions, had led to the deployment of additional forces in many places.

In two major incidents, a teacher was killed in Kokrajhar and a CRPF jawan abducted in Karbi Anglong in the early hours this morning.

Most disturbances were reported from the tribal-dominated areas of the state, particularly from the Bodoland Territorial Area's Districts and Karbi Anglong, allegedly instigated by the former rebels.

The proscribed KLNLF had given a boycott call in Karbi Anglong.

The Indo-Bhutan border had been sealed to prevent any possible terrorist movement. Vigilance along inter-state boundaries had also been beefed up. However, NDFB and ex-BLT militants, who were backing rival candidates, were reportedly active in the area.

Altogether 61 constituencies, mostly in Lower Asom, the northern banks of the Brahmaputra and the Hills districts, are going to the polls in this phase. The first phase election was held on April 3.

As many as 8,995 polling booths were in place for the second phase.

Important candidates in this phase include former Chief Minister and AGP(P) president Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, AGP president Brindabon Goswami, projected by his party as the next Chief Minister, Congress leader Bhumidhar Barman, AUDF president Badruddin Ajmal, besides a host of Bodo and minority leaders.

UNI

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