Rebel attacks, abduction, bandh and elephant raids marked the second phase of polling that averaged 72.85% across six Lok Sabha seats in four northeastern states on Wednesday.
Polling was held in two parliamentary seats each in Arunachal Pradesh (71%) and Meghalaya (66%), the lone seat in Nagaland (84.43%), and one of two in Manipur (70%). Elections were also held in 49 of 60 assembly seats in Arunachal Pradesh, the Congress having won 11 seats uncontested last month.
Officials in Manipur said suspected militants attacked the convoy of deputy speaker Preshaw Shimray in Ukhrul district. He was returning to state capital Imphal after casting his vote in the district, which falls under Outer Manipur Lok Sabha constituency. “A remote-controlled bomb damaged his vehicle,” a police officer said.
Earlier, insurgents in Arunachal abducted Yumsum Matey, Congress candidate from Khonsa West assembly seat in Tirap district, while supporters of political parties damaged six EVMs. Matey was later released.
Militants in Meghalaya also opened fire at a polling centre under Tura seat. Another outfit ‘imposed’ a bandh in the areas under Shillong seat, but people defied the diktat. A herd of wild elephants added to the problems of local authorities in Tura by disrupting movement of election officials to two polling booths.
“We expect the percentage to go up, after we get the results from 218 booths where voting continued till late in the evening,” said Arunachal’s chief electoral officer Chandra Bhushan Kumar.
Polling in the first phase across six seats in Assam and Tripura had averaged 80%.