High turnout amid malfunction claims in Northeast
Amid sporadic violence and complaints of EVM malfunction, the strategically important north-east recorded a high voter turnout on Thursday. Fourteen Lok Sabha seats of the region went to polls in the first phase of the staggered general elections.
In Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, polling was held simultaneously for the 60-member and 32-member assemblies respectively. At 9 pm, 68% votes were polled in Tezpur, Kaliabor, Dibrugarh, Lakhimpur and Jorhat in Assam. In Meghalaya, 67.16% turnout recorded for the two Lok Sabha seats of Shillong and Tura. In Tripura West, 81.8 % electorate cast vote, while the turnout was 63% in Mizoram and around 70% in Arunachal.
In Outer Manipur constituency, 78.2% polling was recorded. In Nagaland, 78.3% votes were polled. The polling percentage was 69% at 9 pm in Sikkim.
“Voting has been smooth barring some cases of EV malfunction,” said Abhijit Sinha, chief electoral officer, Nagaland.
In Assam, Congress spokesperson Rhituporna Konwar alleged there were multiple cases of EVM malfunction. MC Sahu, chief electoral officer, said, “There were reports of malfunction but the EVMs were immediately replaced. We will be able to give more details once polling parties come back,” he said.
In Tripura, where the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has retained the Tripura West seat since 1996, both Congress and the Left party alleged violence in polling booths. “Our workers and polling agents were attacked in many polling booths. In many areas there was no deployment of central forces,” said Shankar Prasad Dutta, CPI(M) candidate from Tripura West. Police said there was no major case of violence. In Sikkim, the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) led by five-term CM Pawan Chamling, is facing anti-incumbency. The Sikkim Krantikari Morcha ( SKM) led by P S Golay and Hamro Sikkim Party (HSP) led by former India football captain Bhaichung Bhutia are the other players.
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