GUWAHATI: Brisk and peaceful polling was recorded in the five seats of Assam and Tripura on Tuesday.
Till 5 pm, the overall voters’ turnout in Assam’s Gauhati, Barpeta, Dhubri and Kokrajhar seats was 74.05 per cent. It was over 80.04 per cent in the Tripura East seat. With this, polling in Northeast has come to an end. Twenty of the region’s 25 seats went to polls in the previous two phases.
Electronic voting machines (EVMs) malfunctioned at some polling stations in Assam but they were quickly replaced. The state’s former Director General of Police, Harekrishna Deka, alleged the EVM that he used to cast vote malfunctioned.
“After I pressed the button, the EVM registered my vote in favour of a candidate that I did not vote for. Baffled, I took up the matter with the polling officials present there. They said I can challenge it by paying fees of Rs.2. However, at the same time, they warned that I will be punished for six months if proven that I made a false claim. As it involves a machine and I have nothing by which I can prove it, I decided against challenging it,” Deka told reporters.
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Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur were among those who exercised franchise in Guwahati. They cast their votes at Dispur Government Higher Secondary School falling under Dispur Assembly segment.
After casting votes, the couple briefly posed for photographs and left for their rented accommodation at the house of former Assam Chief Minister Hiteswar Saikia in the city. Singh has been representing Assam in Rajya Sabha since 1991. His current term will expire on June 14.
There was a lot of enthusiasm among voters who queued up outside polling stations from early morning.
In Guwahati, one Bashir Ali, who is a cancer patient and admitted to a hospital for treatment, also went out to cast vote. The sexagenarian is said to be in the last stage of his ailment. Accompanied by his childhood friend Mukut Choudhary, Ali went to a polling booth and cast his vote. He reportedly never missed a chance to vote.
Meanwhile, the locals of Ekrajuli, which falls under the Kokrajhar seat, boycotted the polls as a mark of protest against government’s alleged apathetic attitude to the village. They alleged that they have been deprived of government’s various development schemes for years.