Voting ends peacefully in Northeast, heavy to moderate polling recorded (Second Lead)

April 16th, 2009 - 6:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, April 16 (IANS) Voting for the first phase of elections in India’s insurgency-hit northeast ended Thursday with millions of people casting their votes amid stray incidents of violence and despite the rain in some places.
“Voting has ended rather peacefully in six of the seven northeastern states with heavy polling recorded,” an election official said.

According to preliminary reports, an estimated 65 percent polling was recorded in the three parliamentary seats of Silchar, Karimganj, and Autonomous District of Assam.

“The final polling percentage could be much higher as we are still compiling figures from remote areas,” the official said.

“There were a few minor incidents of faulty EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines) and temporary suspension of voting, but otherwise polling passed off very peacefully,” the official added.

Voting was also held in two seats each in Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya, and one seat each in Nagaland, Manipur, and Mizoram.

An estimated 7.45 million voters were eligible to exercise their franchise in the first phase of elections in the six of the seven northeastern states. The electoral fortunes of 72 candidates would be decided in Thursday’s vote.

“In Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, and Arunachal Pradesh, the polling percentage is estimated between 60 and 70 percent, while in Manipur it could be anything between 40 and 50 percent according to preliminary reports,” the official said.

“There were rains in Arunachal Pradesh, but it failed to dampen the voters.”

There were incidents of violence in the run-up to the elections in Assam and Manipur with militants triggering explosions and attacking trains, besides ambushing security personnel, in which about 15 people were killed and more than 100 injured.

“We are happy that the vote passed off peacefully so far,” Assam police chief G.M. Srivastava said.

The security situation in Mizoram, Nagaland, and Meghalaya is comparatively better than in Assam and Manipur.

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