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Phase-I of Panchayat polls largely peaceful

Old ladies wait for their turn to cast their votes during the first phase of panchayat elections in a polling station at Jagiroad on Wednesday. – UB Photos
 GUWAHATI, Dec 5 - Polling in sixteen administrative districts which went to panchayat polls in the first phase today was “largely” peaceful.

Balloting began at 7 am today and was continuing till late in the evening. Initially, the turnout was not enthusiastic. The poll percentage recorded till 9 am was 13.7, but it picked up as the day progressed.

“Polling was by and large peaceful. Till 3 pm, the polling percentage was 65.5. However, in many places there were long lines of voters till late in the evening,” State election commissioner HN Bora said, adding that the final poll percentage may go up to 75 per cent.

Altogether 92,19,938 voters were eligible to exercise their franchise in the first phase.

The turnout in the last panchayat elections was 76.76.

Balloting was more or less over in Sadiya district by 5 pm, and the poll percentage there was 65.

Till 3 pm, Sivasagar recorded the highest poll percentage of 81, followed by 73 in Nazira and 70 in Majuli.

“At places some people complained after not finding their names in the voters list. Names were being included in the voters list till three days back. It is difficult if people complain on the voting day. There was one issue in Lakhimpur where there was some anomaly in the symbol in the ballot paper,” Bora said.

Repolling is likely in some stations of Biswanath, Lakhimpur, Sivasagar, Gohpur and Titabor.

“We are getting the reports from the deputy commissioners. We can tell the actual figures late in the night,” the State election commissioner said.

Polling was held in 14,077 polling stations spread across 27 election districts. Around 98,500 polling personnel were deployed for the first phase of the exercise.

In the first phase polls, 796 candidates are contesting for 251 zila parishad member seats, 3,799 candidates fighting for 1,304 anchalik panchayat member seats, 4,155 candidates vying for 1,304 gaon panchayat president posts and 34,765 candidates are in fray for 13,040 gaon panchayat member seats.

Repolling for the first phase, if any, will be held on December 7.

The second phase of elections will be held on December 9. Counting will be held on December 12.

The last polls to the local bodies were held between December, 2012 and February, 2013.

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