1st phase around 81% turnout in WB polls; more than 78% votes cast in Assam


Kolkata/Guwahati: Around 81% of the 40 lakh voters cast their votes in three Maoist-affected districts of West Bengal on Monday in the 1st phase of the assembly polls 2016 in18 constituencies, where more than  80 percent voters cast their votes peaceful in first phase polling in Assam for 65 seats. Voters will decide the fate of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi of Congress and Sarbananda Sonowal, BJP’s chief ministerial candidate.

According to An Election Commission official report, the polling of first phase in these areas has ended peacefully.

“As per reports received till 5 pm, 78.45 per cent of voting had taken place. However, as a large number of voters were standing in queue at 5 pm, the final polling percentage is likely to by over 80 per cent,” the election department said in a statement.

“We were in a state of anxiety. You know the reason (fears of Maoist violence). But overall there was no major incident or complaint. There was no news of any bandh or poll boycott by the Maoists,” Chief Electoral Officer Sunil Gupta told reporters, as per PTI.

Polling will be held in another 31 seats in the second part of the first phase to be held on April 11.

People exercised their franchise amid high security in 12,191 polling stations of 65 constituencies spread across Upper Assam, northern bank of Brahmaputra Valley and Barak Valley.

The prominent Congress contestants in this phase are Tarun Gogoi, Assembly Speaker Pranab Gogoi, former Union Minister Paban Singh Ghatowar, Assam Ministers Gautam Roy, Sarat Barkotoky, Ajanta Neog, Khorsingh Engti, Siddeque Ahmed, Bismita Gogoi, Sumitra Patir and Girindra Malik among others.

Besides Sonowal, BJP’s star candidates are Lok Sabha member Kamakhya Prasad Tasa, who has been pitched against Assam Chief Minister, MLAs Prashanta Phukan, Dilip Paul, Hiten Goswami, Padma Hazarika and Naba Doley along with former ULFA extremist Kushal Duwari.

Besides its working president Atul Bora, AGP’s noted nominees are sitting MLAs Keshab Mahanta and Utpal Dutta along with their former minister Pradip Hazarika.
“Polling was good and it was due to the significant increase in the number of young voters. I am hopeful that the Congress will do well,” Gogoi said, as per IANS.

Altogether 535 companies of central security forces and state police were on duty in the 65 constituencies.