An estimated 72 per cent of the 64.4 lakh voters exercised their franchise peacefully in five Lok Sabha constituencies in Assam sealing the electoral fate of 51 contestants, including two union ministers in the first phase.
Election office sources said that the exact percentage would be available at night as thousands of people were still standing in queues when voting ended at 5 pm.
Tezpur recorded 73 per cent voting, Jorhat 75 per cent, Lakhimpur 67, Dibrugarh 70 and Koliabor 72 per cent, the sources said.
Prominent contestants whose fates were sealed in EVMS were union ministers and Congress nominees Paban Singh Ghatowar (Dibrugarh) and Ranee Narah (Lakhimpur), besides former union minister and sitting Congress MP Bijoy Krishna Handique (Jorhat).
Others were Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s son Gaurav Gogoi (Koliabor), Congress rebel and Independent candidate Moni Kumar Subba and BJP state unit president Sabananda Sonowal (Lakhimpur).
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, his wife Dolly Gogoi and their son and Koliabor constituency Congress candidate Gaurav Gogoi cast their votes in Jorhat. New voters in the 18-19 age group from among the first-time 6.5 lakh electorate came out in large numbers to choose their representatives.
An upbeat chief minister expressed confidence of the Congress sweeping the polls in the state winning more than ten of the 14 seats. “There is no Modi magic, but Tarun Gogoi magic in Assam. Earlier, I had said we will win ten seats, but now I am sure the Congress will get more than that, he told reporters after casting his vote claimed,
In the last 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress had won seven of the 14 seats, its alliance partner BPF one, BJP four and AIUDF one. Reports were received about over 50 EVMs malfunctioning, but they were replaced and voting continued uninterrupted.
Four persons, including a woman, demanding to cast their vote early at a voting centre in Sarupathar Silonijan area of Kaliabor constituency, received minor injuries in a fracas with CRPF personnel, police sources said.
The state election office web cast the election process at each of the polling stations. For the first time in the northeast region, all polling booths in the state were declared smoking-free. The next phase of the LS polls in the state would be held on April 12 for three Lok Sabha seats of Karimganj (SC), Silchar and Autonomous District (ST).
Lok Sabha Elections Tripura
Over 80 per cent voters exercised their franchise today for one of the two Lok Sabha seats – Tripura West constituency in the Left Front ruled state as polling ended peacefully.
Election department sources said that the percentage might increase after final computation. Chief Electoral Officer, Ashutosh Jindal told reporters that the polls were incident free and barring a few complaints, EVMs functioned well and in case of minor problems they were either changed or repaired.
The electoral fates of 13 candidates, including CPI(M)’s Shankar Prasad Dutta, secretary of the state unit of CITU, Congress’ Arunoday Saha, former vice-Chancellor of Tripura Central University, Sudhindra Dasgupta, BJP’s state unit Chief and Chairman of the state unit of TMC and former minister Ratan Chakraborty, were sealed in EVMs.
The CPI(M) had won the seat ten out of 15 times between 1952 and 2009. Since 1996 the CPI(M) consistently won this seat.
Chief Minister and CPI-M politburo member Manik Sarkar told reporters after casting his vote, “In reality there is no wave like Modi wave in the country. It is actually the creation of the corporate media.”
Polling for the East Tripura (ST Reserve) seat would be held on April 12. There are two LS seats in the state.
(With inputs from PTI, Reuters)