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Election 2011 begins peacefully with Assam, 66 percent turnout

Monday April 04, 2011 07:21:51 PM, IANS

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Polls to five assemblies begins with Assam

Elections to five assemblies kicked off Monday with the first phase being held in Assam where voting began at 7 a.m. No untoward incidents were reported, officials said. Twelve percent votes were cast in the first two hours of polling. Voting began at 7 a.m. in 62 assembly constituencies of the  »

 Stage set for Assam first phase elections

Guwahati: Elections to five assemblies, the biggest vote since the 2009 general polls, began Monday with the first phase being held in Assam where more than 66 percent of the people exercised their franchise without any untoward incident.

While Congress' Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said he was confident of a third straight term in office, the opposition too claimed victory and said the ruling party was in for a drubbing at the hustings.

The Election Commission said 66.24 percent of the nearly 8.5 million voters exercised their franchise till 3 p.m. when voting closed in the first round of the two-phase Assam elections, which began at 7 a.m. However, polling continued in about 20 percent of the more than 11,000 polling booths as people had queued up from earlier in the afternoon.

"We expect the voting percentage to go up and a final figure is expected only late Monday or Tuesday morning," the election official said.

Repolling was ordered in two polling stations in southern Assam's Barak Valley.

Voting was held for the first phase of assembly elections in 62 of the 126 assembly seats in Assam spread over 13 districts.

The fate of an estimated 485 candidates was sealed in the ballot; of these, 38 are women.

"I am confident the Congress will be able to make a political hat-trick by forming the government for the third straight term," Chief Minister Gogoi told IANS soon after casting his vote in his home district of Jorhat in eastern Assam.

Gogoi is contesting from the Titabar assembly constituency in Jorhat district.

"People will vote for us for good governance and all round development," the chief minister said.

The opposition, however, was equally confident of an upset.

"The people of Assam are looking for a change and to get rid of the corrupt rule of the Congress government in the past 10 years. The AGP is forming the next government," Assam's main opposition Asom Gana Parishad's president Chandra Mohan Patowary told IANS.

The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fielded 62 candidates each for the first phase, while the AGP put up 51 nominees. There are 157 independents in the fray for the first phase.

People lined up since early Monday outside polling stations despite rains in some places.

"I exercised my franchise not just for the sake of voting but voted for a candidate who I think could work for the overall development of the area," Chandan Das, a young voter in the northern Sonitpur district.

Over 30,000 police and paramilitary troopers were deployed for the first phase with authorities not taking any chances despite a general lull on the insurgency front.

Besides Gogoi, the prominent candidates whose fates were sealed in the first phase vote included Power Minister Pradyut Bordoloi, state president of the BJP Ranjit Dutta and senior AGP leader Brindaban Goswami.

A total of 9.6 million voters would decide the fate of 496 candidates in the second phase elections April 11 in 64 constituencies. Results are due May 13.

The multi-phased elections in Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry end May 10. This is the first major electoral exercise since the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

 

 

 

 

 

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