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Army rescues poll teams

- Sudden rise in river water levels leaves polling officials stuck; woman's body recovered in Ri Bhoi district

A road submerged by the overflowing Barak river in Katigara on Sunday. Picture by UB Photos

Guwahati, June 18: The army today rescued three polling parties which were stranded for several hours after the water level of the Kolioni river in Karbi Anglong rose suddenly due to heavy rains last evening.

Each polling team, which had been deployed for duty during the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council elections, comprised six personnel. They were returning with ballot boxes after conducting the elections yesterday when they found their way blocked by the overflowing river in Diphu and Bokajan sub-divisions of Karbi Anglong district.

"Finally, the army and paramilitary forces had to be called in. They constructed bamboo rafts to ferry the marooned officials to safety around 2am today," Assam state election commissioner H. N. Bora said.

He said another polling party was stuck in Hamren subdivision in West Karbi Anglong district because of bad weather since last evening. "They could reach the district headquarters only this afternoon," Bora said.

"We thank the people for coming out in large numbers to vote, braving the inclement weather," the state election commissioner said. "This is perhaps the most peaceful elections to the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council as no untoward incident was reported from any constituency."

He said altogether 4,66,421 votes were polled in 26 constituencies and the overall polling percentage stood at 78.04 per cent.

Ten constituencies under Bokajan subdivision registered the highest polling percentage of 80.26 while nine constituencies each under Hamren and Diphu subdivisions recorded voting percentage of 77.21 and 77.42 respectively.

Bora said re-polling hasn't been ordered in any constituency and counting of votes will start at 8am on June 22.

"We expect the results to be out by 3pm," he said.

"Elaborate arrangements have been made for counting of votes, which will take place at Hamren, Diphu and Bokajan. There will be three counting halls in these places and each hall will have around 14 counting tables," he said.

Bora said a three-layer security cordon has been put in place at the three strongrooms at Hamren, Diphu and Bokajan where ballot boxes are being kept.

All the three layers will be manned by Assam police personnel.

"The strong rooms have been put under CCTV surveillance," the state election commissioner said.

"Footage from all CCTV cameras can be viewed in a monitor at the CCTV control room where round the clock vigil is being kept. Agents of political parties and candidates can also see the footage at the monitor," he said.


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