Heavy to moderate voting till midday in northeast

Guwahati, April 16 (Inditop) Moderate to brisk polling was recorded till midday Thursday for the first phase of parliamentary elections in India’s northeast, with Assam witnessing an estimated 40 to 50 percent vote.

“By and large voting is going on peacefully with moderate to brisk polling recorded in all the 10 parliamentary seats in the northeast,” an election official said.

About 45-50 percent polling was recorded in the three parliamentary seats of Silchar, Karimganj and Autonomous District of Assam.

“Barring few reports of technical snags in the electronic voting machines, polling is going on smoothly,” the official said.

An improvised explosive devise was found near a polling station in Karbi Anglong. It was defused.

A polling official at Howraghat in Karbi Anglong district of Assam slit his throat with a blade just as voting opened.

“The official is in hospital and his condition is stated to be serious. It could be probably some personal reasons that prompted him to attempt suicide,” the election official said.

People in large numbers queued up in front of polling stations well before voting began at 7 a.m. in 10 of the region’s 24 parliamentary constituencies.

Apart from the three Lok Sabha seats in Assam, voting is also going on in two seats each in Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya and in one seat each in Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram.

In Arunachal Pradesh, heavy rains failed to dampen the spirit of voters with an estimated 40 percent voting recorded till midday, while between 40 to 50 percent polling was recorded in Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya.

In Manipur, 20 to 25 percent voting was recorded till 12 noon.

“There were reports of gunmen snatching four EVMs from Senapati district. We are looking at these reports, besides ordering re-polling in one polling station in Tamenglong district after miscreants rigged the EVMs,” the official said. “By and large voting is peaceful in Manipur.”

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

In almost all the six northeastern states, the Congress is taking on regional parties or the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party.

Authorities have deployed nearly 30,000 police and paramilitary troopers for the polls. Polling ends at 4 p.m.