The first phase of the Lok Sabha elections on Monday with six constituencies in the Northeastern region — five in Assam and one in Tripura — passed off peacefully with the voter turnout crossing 70 per cent in each state; it was in fact85 per cent in Tripura West.
Monday’s voting sealed the fate of union ministers Ranee Narah (Lakhimpur) and Paban Singh Ghatowar (Dibrugarh) of theCongress, apart from that of Assam BJP chief Sarbananda Sonowal (Lakhimpur).
In Assam, the overall turnout was 74.19 per cent. Long queues continued till beyond 6 pm in some polling stations, Kaliabor had recorded close to 77 per cent turnout till 5 pm. The turnout in the other four constituencies was also high, with Assam joint CEO RC Jain.
In Tripura (West) on the other hand, the turnout had crossed 80 per cent till 5 pm, though that and the eventual 85 per cent looked poor in comparison to the 93% turnout that the state had recorded in the 2013 assembly elections.
The constituency-wise break-up for voter turnout in Assam was Dibrugarh 72.56 per cent, Lakhimpur 72.76, Tezpur 74, Jorhat 75.68 and Kaliabor 75.94.
The first phase of the elections in Assam coincided with the 35th foundation day of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), but the outfit had not called any bandh or boycott as it used to do until a few years ago.
While Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and his son and Congress candidate for Kaliabor cast their votes in their hometown Jorhat, state BJP president Sarbananda Sonowal cast his vote in Chabua. Union minister Ghatowar, who is contesting from Dibrugarh, on the other hand cast his vote in Moran which is under Jorhat LS constituency. In Tripura, Chief Minister Manik Sarkar cast his vote around 9:30 am at the Sishu Vihar HS School in Agartala, while CPM candidate Sankar Prasad Datta cast his vote in the Abhaynagar HS School, also in Agartala.
ULFA (anti-talk faction) leader Paresh Barua’s mother Miliki Barua cast her vote in the 89 Jerai Chakalibhariya LP School (West) polling station under Lakhimpur Lok Sabha constituency. “There was not a single untoward incident anywhere except for some minor arguments here and there,” said Assam joint CEO RC Jain.