The ruling BJP took a significant lead as counting of votes for panchayat election in Assam got under way on Wednesday morning.
Results declared till 5pm showed the BJP surging ahead of the Congress, AGP and the AIUDF. State election commissioner H.N. Bora said according to reports received from deputy commissioners and sub-divisional officers, results of 1,089 seats (out of 21,990) of gaon panchayat members (GPM), 71 of 2,199 gaon panchayat presidents (GPP) and 58 of 2,199 anchalik panchayat members (APM) were declared till 5pm. “Of the gaon panchayat member seats, the BJP won 481, Congress 294, AGP 115, AIUDF 14, CPM 5, BPF 5, CPI 2 and Independents 175,” he said.
Of the GP constituencies, the BJP bagged 33, Congress 22, AGP 10, AIUDF 2 and Independents 6. Of the APM seats, the BJP got 30, Congress 15, AGP 8, AIUDF 2 and Independents 3. “The result of no zilla parishad member (ZPM) seat has been declared yet,” Bora said. There are 420 ZPM seats.
He said counting would continue throughout the night and the final result is expected by Thursday afternoon.
Altogether 734 candidates were declared uncontested, including two ZPM, 18 APM, seven GPP and 707 GPM. Of these 1,468 candidates, 380 are from the BJP, 193 from the Congress, 28 from the AGP, 10 from the AIUDF, one from the CPM, five from the Bodoland Peoples Front (BPF) and 117 Independents.
BJP spokesperson Rupam Goswami said the trend shows that the people of the state still have full faith on the Sarbananda Sonowal government. In the last panchayat poll in Assam in 2013, that was held under the previous Congress government, the Congress had won the maximum number of seats.
Bora said counting of votes was going on smoothly but there was commotion outside a couple of counting centres because of a huge gathering of people.
Voting for the panchayat poll was held in two phases on December 5 and 9, which recorded an overall voter turnout of 82 per cent. Repolling was held in 95 booths, including 16 in Karimganj district on Wednesday which passed off peacefully and registered over 65 per cent voting. Repoll in these 16 booths could not be held along with 23 others in the district on Tuesday because of non-printing of ballot papers. Police, however, had to resort to mild lathicharge in front of MMC Girls’ School in Karimganj, where counting is on, to disperse “unruly” supporters of candidates who were protesting against delay in start of counting.
In Karimganj, the Congress was leading in nine of the 20 ZPMs and the BJP in five till 6pm. The Congress was leading in four of the 95 APMs. Of the 95 GPP seats, the Congress was leading in five and the BJP in four.
Of the 950 GPM seats, the Congress was leading in 30 while the BJP and the AIUDF were leading in 30 and two respectively.
In Hailakandi district, of the 11 ZPM seats, the AIUDF, the BJP and the AGP were leading in five, four and two respectively. The BJP has won 29 GPMs, six GPPs and seven APMs while the Congress has won one each in APM and GPP seats. Independents have won 95 GPM, four GPP and two APM seats.
In Cachar, counting proceeded slowly. No trend was available in 27 ZPMs till 6pm. Of its 162 GPP seats, the BJP has won four and the Congress one. Of the 162 APM seats, the BJP and the Congress have won three each. Of the 1,620 GPMs, the BJP won 19 and the Congress 25 seats.