Guwahati: An estimated 70.35 per cent turnout was recorded on the second and final phase of Assam assembly covering 64 constituencies, the Election Commission said here on Monday. The turnout was recorded as on 3pm and the figure would go up, said Deputy Election Commissioner Alok Shukla. He said barring one or two incidents, the polling was by and large peaceful.
Shukla said there were clashes between voters and Central security forces at four polling stations. The clashes occured when the security forces tried to streamline the queues and the voters misbehaved with the forces. This led to
lathicharge, he said. As a result of this, polling could not continue in these polling stations, he said. Polling was vitiated in another polling station when some persons forcibly entered and cast 11 votes, Shukla said.
While there were clashes in one or two polling stations, polling parties were changed in three places following allegations of bias, he said, adding polling was boycotted in two places. Shukla said 73.03 per cent polling was recorded during the first phase of polling held on April 4 covering 62 constituencies.
Among the prominent candidates in the fray were former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, Revenue Minister Bhumidhar Barman, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarmah, Forest and Tourism Minister Rockybul Hussain, Transport Minister Chandan Brahma, Agriculture Minister Pramila Rani Brahma and AGP president Chandramohan Patowary. The total number of voters in this phase was 96,77,113 and polling was held in 14 central and lower Assam districts.
Polling was disrupted for a brief period at a booth (55) in Katirihara under Jaleswar constituency with police firing in the air to disperse a group of people who resorted to violence when the presiding officer asked them to produce
identity cards, the sources said.
EVM malfunctioning was reported from a booth at Nalbari under Goalpara (West) assembly constituencies. Polling was cancelled in four polling stations under
Rangiya assembly constituency in Kamrup (Rural) district after police fired two rounds in the air to disperse agitated voters protesting against alleged high-handedness of security forces.
Incidents of violence, including clashes between rival political parties, were reported from Mazbat, Jagiroad, Sipajhar and Samaguri.
Fourteen NDFB (pro-talk) cadres from a designated camp in Baksa district cast their votes through postal ballots.
Polling was held in the districts of Dhubri, Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Goalpara, Barpeta, Kamrup (Metro), Kamrup (Rural), Nalbari, Baksa, Chirang, Udalguri, Darrang, Morigaon and Nagaon.
Peaceful polling for 62 assembly seats was held in the first phase on April 4 which recorded a high voter turnout of nearly 74 per cent.
High turnout of women, first time voters
First time voters and women turned out in large numbers to exercise their franchise during the second and last phase polls in 64 assembly seats in 14
districts of Assam. Women queued up since early morning outside polling booths
both in rural and urban areas, election commission sources here said.
75-year old Hironmoyee Devi of Guwahati (East) constituency said she had been voting in all the past elections, even when insurgents issued poll boycott calls.
Women in the four districts under the Bodoland Territorial Council outnumbered men in many polling stations, they said.
"We are aware of our rights and so we have come out to exercise it to elect a candidate of our own choice," 40-year-old Kokrajhar school teacher Rekha Brahma said.
"I am very excited to vote for the first time and I and my friends came out early in the morning to vote," said 18-year-old college student Ankita Bhuyan.
"Decline in insurgency activities in the state along with no boycott threats and campaigns initiated by the Election Commission urging voters to vote have helped in increasing the voter turnout, particularly among women and students," said Babita Saikia, a government employee.
The number of women contestants in the second phase poll was higher than the first phase with 47 candidates in fray. Altogether 85 women contested in both phases and in the second phase of polls six sitting MLAs and Agriculture
Minister Pramila Rani Brahma were renominated by their respective parties.
(With additional information from PTI)