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Assam elections end with over 70% voting; Parties exude confidence

Monday April 11, 2011 06:41:53 PM, IANS

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Second phase polling underway in Assam

Polling for the second and final phase of elections in 64 of the 126 assembly seats in Assam began Monday at 7 a.m. and proceeded peacefully with 14 percent turnout in the first two hours, officials said.  »

Guwahati: Voting ended Monday in Assam's second and final phase of elections in 64 of 126 assembly seats, with 70.35 percent polling recorded, officials said.

At the end of the exercise, both the ruling Congress and the opposition both exuded confidence of forming the next government.

"The final polling percentage could be high as we are still compiling figures from remote areas. In about 15 percent of polling stations voting went on well past 3 p.m. as the voters had lined up before the closure time," the official said.

"We are confident of coming back to power for the third straight term as people voted us for good governance, stability and peace," Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said.

The opposition too was optimistic.

"We are confident of winning the polls," said Chandra Mohan Patowary, president of Assam's main opposition Asom Gana Parishad (AGP).

Repolling was ordered in five polling stations. A total of 496 candidates were in the fray Monday.

The first phase of polling April 11 involved 485 candidates and it saw an estimated 73 percent polling -- for 62 assembly seats.

The Assam result will be declared on May 13 along with the states of Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala and Puducherry.

The month-long electioneering was marked by a bitter slanging match between the Congress and the opposition.

Although no one has emerged as frontrunner, the Congress is seen to be having an edge because of disunity in opposition ranks.

The AGP, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Asom United Democratic Front (AUDF) fought the polls on their own, without any pre-poll alliance.

The Bodoland People's Front (BPF) with 11 legislators in the outgoing assembly has a formal pre-poll alliance with the Congress.

"We would get the numbers and if required we can take the help of others. But such a situation would not arise," the chief minister said.

In the numbers game, the AGP and the BJP could team up but the AUDF would not support any combination if BJP was part of it.

Said AUDF president Badruddin Ajmal: "The AUDF will be the kingmaker after the results are known."







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