The second and final phase of Panchayat elections in Assam formally ended at 3 pm today (Dec 9) although voters who had queued up to exercise their franchise were allowed to cast their votes even after polling officially ended. The second phase of the grassroots-level hustings, held in 10 districts of Assam, too, were marred by anomalies in ballot papers and non inclusion of names in voter rolls as well as stray incidents of clashes between candidates and their supporters.
According to the Assam State Election Commission, an estimated 52.20% of the eligible voters had exercised their franchise till 1 pm.
#JustIn | Approximate 52.20% voting in second and final phase of #PanchayatPolls in #Assam till 1 pm, states #Assam State Election Commission. Although voting officially ended at 3 pm, polling still underway to enable voters in queue to exercise their franchise. pic.twitter.com/IUlfbpvj0u
— NEWS LIVE (@NewsLiveGhy) December 9, 2018
The polling percentage is expected to cross the 70-figure mark, Assam SEC sources said.
Voting began at seven in the morning under tight security as people in large numbers queued to exercise their franchise. Polling was disrupted in many places following anomalies in ballot papers amid reports of change of party symbols corresponding to the candidates in fray while many people who came to exercise their democratic right were appalled to find their names missing from the electoral rolls.
There have also been reports of clashes between candidates and their supporters from Barak Valley and Golokganj. On the other hand, ballot boxes were reportedly taken from the polling booth and thrown at a pond in Hailakandi.
Amid the anomalies, employees of Cachar Paper Mill and their family members boycotted the elections in protest against non-payment of salaries for the past two years. Banners reading ‘No Salary, No Vote’ were hung outside a polling station.
Meanwhile, the process of shifting ballot boxes to strong rooms has also begun. Counting of votes will begin at 8 am on Dec 12.