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Barak repoll turnout 61%

Hailakandi, April 17: Repolling in nine booths of the parliamentary constituencies in Barak valley passed off peacefully with no untoward incident reported from any part.

The voting percentage in the nine polling stations in Barak valley was 61.15, according to the chief electoral office, Assam.

The voter turnout was 64.38 per cent in two polling centres under Silchar parliamentary constituency and 65 per cent across 7 booths under Karimganj parliamentary constituency.

The repoll was ordered because the electronic voting machines in the booths had malfunctioned while hooligans had damaged some others.

In the Silchar seat, repolling was held in two polling booths, 111, Jogai Madhai ME School’s in Binnakandi Part I village under Lakhipur LAC and 59, Balichand LP School under Barkhola LAC. “The repoll in the two centres of Lakhipur and Barkhola was peaceful with no untoward incident,” district returning officer of Silchar constituency Gokul Mohan Hazarika said.

Repolling was necessitated at Jogai Madhai ME School centre as hooligans damaged the EVM on the day of the poll. At Balichand, repolling was ordered after the EVMs malfunctioned.

In Karimganj SC seat, repolling was held at seven polling booths, which included two in Hailakandi district. The repoll was recommended in all the seven booths because of EVM malfunctioning. The booths are 117, Gaglacherra ITI LP School, 158, Ananta Vidyaniketan under Hailakandi LAC, 51, Deorail Maktab, 59, Bhanga M.E. Madrassa and 143, Rakeshnagar M.E School under Badarpur LAC, 94, Chargula L.P. School under Ratabari LAC and 53, Nakirkona L.P. School under South Karimganj LAC.

District returning officer of Karimganj constituency Sanjib Gohain Baruah said, “The poll in the seven centres was peaceful and the voter turnout is around 65 per cent.”

Congress candidate from Silchar constituency Sushmita Dev expressed her satisfaction and said, “The repoll in the two polling centres under Silchar constituency should benefit the Congress and I am satisfied with it.”

BJP candidate from Silchar Kabindra Purkaya-stha and Congress candidate from Karimganj constituency Lalit Mohan Suklabaidya could not be contacted.

In Hailakandi’s Gaglacherra ITI LP School, the presiding officer had conducted the polls without clearing the records of the mock poll, which was later objected to by some people of the area.

Today, at the Gaglacherra centre, at least 30 per cent voting was recorded till 9am. “The pleasant weather also contributed to the voter turnout,” said a polling official on duty at Gaglacherra. Most of the voters in the centre were from the tea community. The scenario was different in Hailakandi town’s Ananta Vidyaniketan centre where voters poured in after 10am.

Usha Ranjan Purkayastha, a retired headmaster of Dayamoyee Pathasala of Hailakandi town, expressed anguish over the EVM malfunctioning and suggested the use of ballot paper instead. “I generally vote for the party who can give us a stable government,” he said after casting his vote at Ananta Vidyaniketan, adding that the issue of price rise should be taken seriously by whoever comes to power.

Bhajanti Ree, 28, of Gaglacherra said she was happy to vote for the second time within a week. “I always prefer a change of guard alternatively and this time it is no different.”

Hailakandi deputy commissioner Samsher Singh today visited both the booths of the district where voting began at 7am and ended at 5pm.

The turnout in the three booths of Badarpur LAC’s Deorail Maktab, Bhanga ME Madrassa and Rakeshnagar ME School was impressive with a voting percentage of 70 per cent till 4pm while 65 per cent voting was recorded at Chorgula.

Security was tightened with police and paramilitary forces deployed at the repoll centres.