Peaceful polls under foolproof security in Barak Valley

SILCHAR, April 4: With early dawn under a bright sunny sky, voters turned out in heavy to moderate number in and around the town areas, but it was contrasting to see long queues outside polling booths in the suburban and rural areas. The foolproof security arrangements around the polling stations did not allow any space for rigging, impersonation or booth capturing, a nightmare of the past. In fact, the elections this time, according to many,were quite disciplined and well planned after a long time. There was neither any commotion nor any attempt by goons, except some stray incidents, under political patronage tocreate a situation, calling for the intervention of the election authorities on surveillance and vigilance.
An aura of indifference and apathy on the part of the voters in town areas could be seen as reflected in their poor turn out. The polling booths of Guru Charan College, Narsing Higher Secondary School, Chote Lal Seth Institute, Public Higher Secondary School, among others, recorded not soimpressive turnout of voters, a phenomenon attributed to the lack of interest for reasons quite enigmatic.
It was a totally different picture in the minority-dominated Madhurband, Berenga and Barakpar areas where since early morning long queues of voters, males and females, could be seen, eagerly waiting to exercise theirfranchise. At the Kanakpur Primary School booth, by 10 am 25% of the total electorates of 1,114 had cast their votes. It was the same scenario at Moinul Haque Choudhury Higher Secondary School at Sonabari Ghat in Sonai constituency where by mid-day40% of the voters had voted. Again at Nritya Gopal Higher Secondary School in the semiurban Sonai area, the turnout was not so heavy.
In the four polling booths stationed in the Silcoorie LP and ME schools, the voting took the look of a fair with men and women in long queues and under sweltering sun quite enthusiastic to cast their votes. Atmadeo Sharma, a resident of the teagarden area, said tea tribes, Bengalis and Manipuris who together form 3586 electorates, think it their sacred right to exercise their franchise. He admitted enthusiasm among the voters was not unusual, a common feature witnessed here during the elections. In yet another tea belt areasof Arcatipore under Udharband constituency, the casting of vote which began at slow pace picked up after midnoon. From the trends as available from all the seven Assembly constituencies of Cachar, it was clear that the total percentage of votes would be around 60 to 65%. The polling booths covered by The Sentinel in the constituencies of Silchar, Sonai and Udharband did not report any untoward incident. Nor was there any complaint regarding the functioning of EVMs. The fate of 183 candidates, 73 in Cachar, 65 in Karimganj and 45 in Hailakandi, have been sealed in the ballot boxes today.103 companies of security forces weredeployed through out Barak Valley for strict vigilance and watch around the sensitive, hypersensitive and critical polling booths. In all, 2646 polling booths, 1161 in Cachar, 948 in Karimganj and 537 in Hailakandi, were set up to facilitate exercise of votes by around 18 lakh voters in the valley. (Sentinelassam)

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