Moderate to brisk voting in Assam (Second Lead)

April 23rd, 2009 - 2:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Guwahati, April 23 (IANS) Moderate to brisk polling was recorded till noon Thursday for the second and final phase of parliamentary elections in Assam, while a soldier of the Indian Army was killed and two wounded in an ambush by tribal separatists in Assam’s North Cachar Hills district that had gone to the polls earlier.
“By and large voting is going on peacefully with moderate to brisk polling recorded in all the 11 parliamentary seats with an estimated 33 percent polling conducted till 12 noon,” an election official said.

Many people queued up in front of polling stations well before voting began at 7 a.m. Polling will end at 4 p.m.

The VVIP voters in Assam included Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur who cast their votes at a polling station in Guwahati.

“I am very excited to be back home and am sure the Congress will win a thumping majority in Assam and will be able to form the government at the centre,” Manmohan Singh said after casting his vote.

Voting is being held in the parliamentary seats of Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Kaliabor, Nagaon, Tezpur, Lakhimpur, Guwahati, Mangaldoi, Barpeta, Dhubri, and Kokrajhar.

Earlier, elections in the first phase were held in the three parliamentary seats of Silchar, Karimganj, and Autonomous District in Assam April 16 with heavy polling recorded.

An estimated 14.73 million voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in 15,772 polling stations in the second phase of elections in Assam with 121 candidates in the fray, including 11 women.

“I was among the first to have voted and I would expect a government in New Delhi that would work for the overall development of the country by maintaining the secular fabric of India,” said Nilpawan Baruah, a doctor.

“We are confident of winning the polls. Our performance and the various development measures we took in Assam would surely not go in vain,” Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said after casting his vote.

The battle lines are drawn with the ruling Congress party locked in a direct fight with the opposition combine of the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in nine seats, while in at least two seats it would be a triangular contest with the Asom United Democratic Front (AUDF), a minority based party.

Meanwhile, heavily armed militants of the outlawed Dima Haolam Daogah (DHD), popularly known as the Black Widow, attacked three security posts in Langting area of North Cachar Hills, about 320 km from Guwahati. The area had seen polling April 16.

“The militants fired indiscriminately on at least three locations, killing one army soldier and injuring two more,” police spokesperson A. Das told IANS.

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