|Voters stand in a queue during the Mising Autonomous Council election on Thursday. Picture by UB Photos
Jorhat/Dhemaji, Oct. 3: A community which has survived over the centuries without a king or political set-up ever, today went to the polls for the first time to elect their own representatives with hopes in their hearts for better times to come.
For the Mising community it was a time to rejoice as well as make the right choice.
In most of the polling booths here and in the Majuli subdivision for the Mising Autonomous Council election, voters lined up from 5am and by 9am almost 70 per cent of the votes had been cast.
A voter from Majuli joked that by 2pm in some polling booths only the dead in the voter list remained unticked.
Figures released by state election commissioner Biren Dutta in Guwahati this evening put the turnout at over 75 per cent. “Polling was absolutely peaceful because of the extra care in some areas,” he said.
The second phase is on October 7.
In the first phase today, 25 constituencies of the 40-member council went to the polls and nine constituencies in Dhemaji subdivision will be held on October 7.
In the first phase, 110 candidates were in the fray while in the second, 25 candidates will be in the fray and 95,000 voters will exercise their franchise.
Bhaba Doley at Bahphala said the Mising areas were largely undeveloped and were prone to flooding and erosion.
“We hope that those who are elected are better administrators and that we get our due. Whether it is here, in Majuli or Dhakuakhan in Lakhimpur district, the places that Misings populate have seen little development. We have been neglected since Independence,” he said.
Despite Majuli and some other places witnessing frequent clashes between the Takam Mising Porin Kebang (TMPK)-backed Ganashakti and the Congress supporters prior to the elections, the polls were peaceful barring a few incidents.
In Majuli at Ujoni Serpai 12 polling booth, there was a slight skirmish between the two parties near the booth but because of heavy deployment of security forces the violence was contained.
In Bahphala here late last night, Takam Mising Porin Kebang members accused Congress workers of distributing liquor to voters and a skirmish erupted in which eight persons were injured. Police said eight people were beaten upand a Gypsy seized.
In Jonai subdivision of the Dhemaji district, voting in six constituencies passed off peacefully with a turnout of over 70 per cent.
In Lakhimpur district, the Congress supporters accused Ganashakti workers of rigging in the interior areas.
At Dhakuakhana in Lakhimpur district, a scuffle broke out between the two parties but was checked on time by the security forces.
The lone Desang Dikhow constituency in Sivasagar district had a turnout of about 70 per cent in the 22 polling stations covering 30 villages.
The polling for two constituencies under Golaghat district also passed off peacefully with a 70 per cent turnout.
In Dhansiri (Golaghat district), two candidates — one representing the Congress and the other an Independent — are in the fray, and in Gelabil there were three candidates representing AGP, Congress and Independent.
The Mising Autonomous Council has 40 members of whom 36 will be elected and the rest nominated.
However, elections to two constituencies in Dhemaji district, which has total 17 constituencies, were put off earlier because of issues related to constituency demarcation.