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Brisk polling in first phase of Lok Sabha elections

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Thirty – five per cent of the 64,41,634 voters exercised their franchise till noon on Monday in five Lok Sabha constituencies of Assam where four persons clashed with CRPF personnel demanding that they be allowed to cast their vote first in Kaliabor constituency.

Election office sources said 27 per cent voting was registered in Tezpur, 45 per cent in Jorhat, 32 per cent in Lakhimpur, 38 per cent in Dibrugarh and 30 per cent in Koliabor during the first phase of elections in the state.

With a large turnout of voters, long queues were seen in front of the 8,588 polling stations one hour before voting began at 7 am, particularly in the rural areas where poll campaigning was intense.

A considerable number of the 6.5 lakh first time voters in the age group of 18 to 19 years registered in the state this time, were seen enthusiastically lining up to participate in the poll process.

Most of the early morning voters were women who said they wanted to cast their ballot before they began their housework for the day.

According to reports reaching here, 33 electronic voting machines (EVMs) malfunctioned in Dibrugarh, Kaliabor, Tezpur and Lakhimpur constituencies. Of them, 29 were later replaced while snags in the others were rectified and voting continued uninterrupted, they said.

Four persons, including a woman, suffered injuries when they clashed with CRPF personnel demanding they will allowed to cast their vote early at a voting centre in Sarupathar Silonijan area of Kaliabor constituency, police said.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, his wife Dolly Gogoi as well as his son and Koliabor constituency Congress candidate Gaurav Gogoi cast their vote in Jorhat.

Talking to reporters after casting his vote, the Chief Minister asserted that the Congress would sweep the polls in the state winning more than ten seats.

41% votes cast in Tripura

Forty-one percent of the 12,46,794 voters exercised their franchise till noon in Tripura West Lok Sabha Constituency on Monday, amid complaints of malfunctioning of EVMs at some places.

Of the two constituencies — Tripura West and Tripura East (ST), election is being held in Tripura West constituency on Monday.

CPI (M) state secretary Bijan Dhar said people were enthusiastic about casting their votes.

BJP state unit president Sudhindra Chandra Dasgupta and the party’s contestant from the seat said some EVM machines were not working in some polling stations of the capital.

When contacted, election officials said a few EVMs were not working in the beginning in some polling stations but those were either immediately replaced or repaired by the election department.

Polling for the Tripura East (ST) seat will be held on April 12.

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