Repoll in 42 rural booths in Assam on Friday

District heads, police chiefs looking into lapses so far

By A Staff Reporter in Guwahati
  • Published 7.12.18, 12:28 AM
  • Updated 7.12.18, 12:28 AM
  • 2 mins read
Poll officials carry ballot boxes to counting centres in Tezpur on Thursday after the first phase of panchayat election on Wednesday. Picture by UB Photos

The Assam State Election Commission on Thursday said deputy commissioners and superintendents of police are looking into lapses reported during the first phase of panchayat polls on Wednesday and are reviewing preparations for repolling on Friday and the second phase of polls on Sunday.

The turnout in the first phase was 80 per cent but is likely to go up after repolling in 42 booths, of which 27 are in Lakhimpur district. Repolling in 15 booths will be held on Friday and in the 27 Lakhimpur booths on Monday.

The highest polling was recorded in Darrang district (81.5 per cent) and the lowest in Sadiya (65.5 per cent).

The 2013 panchayat elections registered an overall turnout of 76.76 per cent.

Asked about the action being taken against alleged rigging, misprinting of ballots, long wait and lax security in some polling booths, state election commissioner H.N. Bora told The Telegraph on Thursday evening that deputy commissioners and superintendents are looking into all aspects and taking necessary measures.

“They are also reviewing preparations for repolling to be held on Friday and Monday, and the second phase of polls on December 9. The commission will wait for all the reports to come in after December 10 and take suitable steps to prevent a recurrence,” Bora said.

Reports from the field suggest efforts are being taken to check lapses.

Barpeta deputy commissioner Thaneswar Malakar on Thursday appealed to people whose names are not in the voter list to approach additional deputy commissioner Pulak Patgiri with documents to get their names enlisted. Barpeta superintendent of police Violet Baruah said a three-tier security arrangement has been put in place to prevent any untoward incident during polling.

In Hailakandi district, seven non-Assam Civil Service officers have been appointed as executive magistrates to ensure free and fair elections.

Hailakandi and Barpeta districts go to the polls on Sunday. Bora said repolling will be held in 27 booths in Lakhimpur district, where wrong symbols were reportedly printed against names of candidates on ballot papers, on Monday.

Repolling will also be held on Friday in Kamrup (3), Biswanath (1), Gohpur (1), Dhemaji (3), Titabor (1), Sivasagar (2), and Charaideo (1).

A total of 43,515 candidates were in the fray for the posts of zilla parishad member, anchalik panchayat member, gaon panchayat president and gaon panchayat member in the first phase. “We are hopeful the turnout will increase in the second phase,” said Bora.

The Assam BJP on Thursday thanked the people for coming out in huge numbers to cast their votes and attributed the turnout to “transparent” implementation of the Centre’s schemes by the state government and people’s faith in the leadership of chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal.

Additional reporting by Sunil Das in Barpeta

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