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85 percent turnout in Assam, 79.56 in Bengal, FIR against CM

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Guwahati/Kolkata: Assam and West Bengal today saw voter turnout of 85 per cent and 79.56 per cent respectively in the assembly elections as polling was marked by sporadic violence and registration of an FIR against Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi for violation of electoral law.

The curtains came down on the two-phase Assam polls with the turnout pegged at 85 per cent in 61 constituencies and the figure is expected to go up further after the final figures from remote locations are complied.

“As per the reports received till 5 PM, 82.02 per cent of voting had taken place. However, as a large number of voters were still standing in queue at 5 PM, the final polling percentage is likely to go to approximately 85 per cent,” the Election Department said in a statement.

The first phase of polling in the state on April 4 had witnessed an 82.20 per cent turnout in 65 of the total of 126 Assembly constituencies.

In Assam’s Barpeta district, an 80-year-old voter died in a scuffle between CRPF personnel and the locals over forming a queue at a polling station in Sorbhog seat, officials said. Three others, including a CRPF Assistant Commandant and a constable, were also injured in the incident.

Election Commission sources in Delhi said that an FIR was registered against Gogoi for violation of Represention of People Act for holding a press conference during the polling today.

Security personnel fired in the air to quell a protest at at Chaygaon in Kamrup district after a CRPF constable allegedly “misbehaved” with a pregnant voter who re-entered a polling station to pick up her child whom she had inadvertently forgotten to carry while leaving after casting her vote.

The entire team of CRPF deployed in the polling station was replaced after the incident, district Superintendent of Police Prasanta Saikia said.

Prominent among those whose fate will be decided in the second phase in Assam include cabinet ministers Rakibul Hussain, Chandan Sarkar and Nazrul Islam of Congress, AGP leader and former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta and BJP national spokesman Sidhartha Bhattacharya. Also in the fray is former Congress minister Himanta Biswa Sarma who revolted against Tarun Gogoi and joined BJP last year.

There are 525 candidates in the fray.

Congress, which under Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi is seeking a fourth straight term in power, has fielded 57 candidates, BJP 35, its allies AGP 19 and BPF 10, AIDUF 47, CPI-M nine and CPI five.

In West Bengal, where TMC leader Mamata Banerjee is seeking a second successive term in office, polling was held in 31 seats in the second part of the first phase of poll, drawing 79.56 percent turnout.

Chief Electoral Officer of West Bengal Sunil Gupta said the average today comes to 79.56 per cent.

Sporadic incidents of violence were reported from polling booths in Jamuria constituency in Burdwan. A CPI(M) agent was injured after he was allegedly beaten up by Trinamool Congress workers and prevented from entering a polling booth, though TMC denied the allegation. Two bags containing bombs were found near a polling booth in Jamuria by police.

Prominent among those whose fate would be decided in today’s polling included state BJP president Dilip Ghosh, former WBPCC president Manas Bhunia, state minister Malay Ghatak, actor Soham Chakrabarty besides Surjya Kanta Mishra. Mishra.

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