Assam vote ends with high turnout, case against Tarun Gogoi

79.51% recorded in West Bengal, but final count may go up.

Updated - November 17, 2021 01:56 am IST

Published - April 12, 2016 12:04 am IST - NEW DELHI:

A woman emerges after casting her vote in a booth on the outskirts of Guwahati on Monday.

A woman emerges after casting her vote in a booth on the outskirts of Guwahati on Monday.

The second and final phase of the Assembly elections in Assam ended on Monday with the registration of a case against the three-time Chief Minister, Tarun Gogoi, on the charge of holding a press conference within 48 hours of the polls, amounting to influencing voters.

The 61 constituencies recorded a turnout of 85 per cent. In West Bengal, 79.51 per cent was recorded in 31 constituencies till 5 p.m. on Monday, compared with 83.72 per cent in the 2011 polls. The final count may go up.

Stating that Mr. Gogoi had already been warned against holding any public meeting, Deputy Election Commissioner Sandeep Saxena said: “On the Election Commission’s direction, a First Information Report has been registered against Mr. Gogoi under Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, which prohibits public meetings during the period of 48 hours of the poll.” The provision prescribes a maximum of two years’ imprisonment and, or, penalty. If the charges are proven in court, Mr. Gogoi, contesting from Titabor, would have to step down if he wins this time.

He would also be barred from contesting in further elections, according to Election Commission sources.

Earlier, the outgoing Chief Minister addressed a press conference, accusing Election Commission officials of bias. He alleged that a former Congress leader Goutam Bora was not allowed to come out of his residence. Mr. Gogoi also accused BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma of holding a public meeting in violation of the code of conduct.

“We conducted an inquiry and found no substance in the allegations. Accordingly, in the wake of the press conference held by Mr. Gogoi, orders were issued for registration of a case against him,” said Mr. Saxena.

In West Bengal, the Opposition Communist Party of India (Marxist) accused the ruling Trinamool Congress of using its cadre to intimidate voters, including senior CPI(M) leader Surjyakanta Mishra.

According to the party’s complaint to the EC, Mr. Mishra was heckled by Trinamool workers in his Narayangarh constituency. The EC said it had not received any information.

Separately, a case was registered against a candidate and his wife for entering a booth, and its presiding officer was dismissed for the lapse. “In Jamuria [West Bengal], two sacks of crude bombs were found almost two km from a polling booth. Immediate action was taken to remove and defuse them,” said an Election Commission official.

Over 1.8 crore voters, including over 84 lakh women and 72 transgenders, exercised their franchise in the second phase in Assam and West Bengal.

According to the EC, polling in both States was by and large peaceful. Only 17 complaints were received.

At Barpeta in Assam, an incident of stone-throwing by locals and a baton charge by the Central Reserve Police Force was reported.

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