80% voter turnout in phase 2 of the Bodo Territorial Council polls in Assam
Voting for the second and final phase of the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) election in Assam concluded on Thursday with nearly 80% of the polls amid reports of street incidents of violence.
An election official was injured in Chirang district during a clash between the Bodoland Popular Front (BPF) and the People’s United Liberal Party (UPPL) at a polling place in Duttapara.
Police had to fire into the air to disperse the crowd and ensure the resumption of the elections. While some allege that the election official was trying to sway a voter, district officials said it was a case of misunderstanding.
“The incident occurred after a visually impaired voter entered the polling station with no one to accompany him. When the election official tried to help him cast his vote, other voters outside assumed that he was trying to influence the voter and attacked him (the election official), ”said Gautam Talukdar, Chirang’s deputy commissioner.
“The police present in the area used blind shots in the air to control the situation. The election official has suffered injuries but is not critical. Chirang recorded 75% of the polls as of 3:30 pm and the final figure is expected to exceed 80%, ”he added.
A total of 111 candidates are in contention in the 19 constituencies of Kokrajhar and Chirang districts. Voting took place in 21 electoral districts in Baksa and Udalguri districts, the first phase of voting taking place on Monday.
Voting began at 7:30 am and continued after 4:30 pm, the official time limit, as voters who arrived before that time were able to cast their vote. Long lines of voters were seen lining up outside most polling stations early in the morning before voting began.
“The final voting percentage in Kokrajhar would be between 75% and 80%. The voting was generally peaceful and smooth. In accordance with the Covid-19 protocols, masks and disinfectants were given to the polling station staff and also for distribution to voters, if necessary, ”said Bhaskar Phukan, Kokrajhar deputy commissioner.
The voting for the first phase on Monday had passed peacefully with more than 77% of the vote.
This is the first election to be held in Assam since the Covid-19 pandemic began. Elections were scheduled for April but had to be postponed due to the pandemic and the four districts under BTC came under the governor’s rule.
Assembly elections in Assam are to be held between March and April of this year and BTC polls are considered a semi-final contest.
Since its formation in 2003, the BTC had been ruled by Hagrama Mohilary, a former rebel who now heads the Bodoland Peoples’ Front (BPF), a partner in the ruling coalition led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with Asom Gana Parishad ( AGP). ) as a third partner.
But relations between the BJP and BPF began to deteriorate after BTC was placed under the governor’s rule. Both parties are now challenging the BTC polls separately. The BPF has put forward candidates in 37 seats, while the BJP is running 26 and supports independent candidates in the other seats.
In addition to the BJP and the BPF, the opposition Congress and the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), which have an agreement for the assembly elections, are contesting 20 seats.
The vote count will take place on December 12.