An estimated 70-75 per cent of the electorate voted in the second and final phase of elections to Assam's 64 Assembly seats on Monday. The official estimate of polling till 3 p.m. was 70.35 per cent.
Polling was marred by stray incidents of clashes between voters and security personnel in some booths that resulted in the police resorting to baton charge and blank firing, and between supporters of different parties.
More than 20 persons were injured at a booth in the Rangiya constituency in Kamrup district, when the police resorted to blank firing to disperse a mob that clashed with Border Security Force personnel. The mob torched a police vehicle and damaged some civilian ones.
Most of the Bodo-dominated seats and some constituencies dominated by minorities recorded a heavy turnout. The Barama constituency that comes partially under the Bodoland Territorial Council, for instance, recorded 84.42 per cent. It was followed closely by Bijni with 83 per cent. The minority-dominated Mancachar recorded 77 per cent.
This phase was crucial for both the Bodoland People's Front (BPF), an ally of the ruling Congress, and the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), which has a stronghold in the minority-dominated constituencies, as both have been trying to emerge as the kingmaker. The BPF won 11 and the AIUDF seven of 64 constituencies in 2006.
Nalbari district, once a hotbed of insurgency, recorded 78.81 per cent polling among the 12 revenue districts of central and lower Assam.
Guwahati witnessed a higher turnout than in 2006. Towards noon, voters with umbrellas stood in the queue for more than 30 minutes in most polling stations falling under the Gauhati (East) constituency. In the other three constituencies of Dispur, Jalukbari and Gauhati (West) of Kamrup (Metropolitan) district too, there was good turnout.
Monday's polling sealed the fate of several heavyweights, including the former Chief Minister and Leader of the Opposition, Prafulla Kumar Mahanta; Asom Gana Parishad president Chandra Mohan Patowary and nine Ministers of the ruling Congress-BPF coalition.
Manmohan skips voting
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is a registered voter of the Dispur Assembly constituency under Kamrup (Metropolitan) district of Assam, did not cast his vote on Monday. Confirming this, District Election Officer of Kamrup (Metropolitan) J. Balaji told The Hindu that the Prime Minister had not sought a postal ballot. “There was preliminary information that the Prime Minister might come for voting. However, there was no concrete information after that. He also did not seek postal ballot.”
Keywords: Assam Assembly polls