World Bulletin / News Desk
The first phase of India’s national election ended peacefully on Monday evening in two north-eastern states with an average voter turnout of over 75%, electoral officials reported.
In the first phase of the parliamentary election, five constituencies – Tezpur, Kaliabor, Jorhat, Dibrugarh and Lakhimpur – in Assam state and one constituency in Tripura state went to the polls on the first day of the month-long national election.
The collective voter turnout in Assam was 75%; one constituency registered 80%.
Nearly 75% of 6.5 million voters queued up to vote amid tight security; minor sporadic incidents of violence were reported in Kaliabor and Dibrugarh constituencies.
At some polling booths, voters had to wait as nearly 40 Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) malfunctioned before being replaced by election officials.
Talking to reporters after casting his vote, state Congress party leader and Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi said that his party would sweep the polls in tea-growing region.
The remaining nine constituencies of Assam of one constituency of Tripura will go to the polls on April 12 and 14.
A dozen political parties are in the fray in Assam and Tripura, including two principal parties - the ruling Congress party and the right-wing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The BJP, India’s main opposition, released its election manifesto in New Delhi on the first day of polling amid criticism by the Congress party which filed a complaint with the Election Commission of India.
Earlier in the day, the Commission wrote to the federal government and all states detailing the security plan for deployment of paramilitary forces for the free, fair and peaceful conduct of the election.
The world’s biggest and longest-running election is being fought in nine phases from April 7 to May 12 around the key issues of corruption, inflation, unemployment and secularism.
The results will be announced on May 16.
Around 815 million registered voters are expected to cast their ballots, an increase of 100 million new voters compared with the 2009 election.
According to opinion polls, the BJP, which has been in opposition for the past two terms, is anticipated to form the next federal government after defeating the Congress party, which has been in power since 2004.Last Mod: 08 Nisan 2014, 10:12