Assam records 65 per cent polling

Guwahati, Apr 4 (PTI) An estimated 65 per cent of the electorate cast its votes in the first phase of assembly elections in 62 constituencies of Assam as polling, held amid tight security and under a rebel threat, was peaceful.

Around 60 to 70 per cent polling was reported from all the constituencies in Upper Assam, Barak Valley, the two hills districts of North Cachar Hills, Karbi Anglong and Sonitpur district on the northern bank of Brahmaputra.

The total electorate in the state is 85,09,011.

Hundred per cent polling was reported from two polling stations in the Naoboicha assembly constituency, while the Dhakuakhana seat where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh campaigned for Sports and Culture Minister Bharat Chandra Narah recorded a high 87 per cent.

The fate of 485 candidates including Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, senior ministers Pradyut Bordoloi, Ajanta Neog, Prithivi Majhi, Gautam Roy and Bharat Chandra Narah, BJP state president Ranjit Dutta, former AGP president Brindabon Goswami and CPI National Council member Promode Gogoi were sealed in EVMs.

There was no report of any untoward incident from any part of the state, official sources said.

There were initial reports of EVMs malfunctioning, but the problems were rectified and polling was not affected, the sources said.
For the first time in 15 years, 41 cadres of the ethnic Karbi Longri N C Hills Liberation Front participated in the democratic process by voting in two designated camps in Karbi Anglong district.
The pro-talk faction of the ULFA led by ''chairman'' Arabinda Rajkhowa stayed away from the elections, while the anti-talk Paresh Barua faction had issued a threat to Congress leaders and workers in the state.
Polling was boycotted in 10 polling stations under Haflong police station with the Indigenous People Forum, an umbrella organisation of Hmar, Kuki and Zeme Naga tribes, demanding bifurcation of the North Cachar Hills district into two autonomous hills districts.

Nearly 35,000 central paramilitary forces were deployed for the elections.

The second and concluding phase of elections will be held on April 11 in the remaining 64 constituencies.