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Second phase polling underway in Assam

Monday April 11, 2011 09:38:49 AM, IANS

Guwahati: 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.

In Assam's main city of Guwahati, thousands had lined up before polling booths since morning.

"We expect the turnout to be very high as the weather is perfect and the response so far from the voters has been very encouraging," an election official said.

"So far, polling has been going on peacefully," he added.

Voting will continue till 3 p.m. in the 11,589 polling stations. An estimated 9.7 million voters would decide the fate of 496 candidates in the fray.

"We are confident that people would vote for good governance, stability, and peace," Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said.

State Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who is the Congress candidate from Jalukbari seat in Guwahati, said: "I am happy at the very encouraging turnout with people in large numbers coming out to vote."

The opposition too was optimistic that the elections would help bring in change.

"People of Assam are looking for a change," Chandra Mohan Patowary, president of Assam's main opposition Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), said after casting his vote.

The first phase April 11 sealed the fate of 485 candidates with an estimated 73 percent polling recorded in 62 assembly seats.

The results will be declared May 13.

Over 40,000 police and paramilitary troopers were deployed in various places, with authorities not taking any chance despite a general lull on the insurgency front.

Among the prominent candidates whose fate would be sealed in Monday's vote are AGP president Chandra Mohan Patowary, two time former chief minister and AGP senior Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, Congress ministers Himanta Biswa Sarma and Rockybul Hussain, besides at least 41 women candidates.

The multi-phased elections in Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry end May 10. This is the first major electoral exercise since the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.






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