Ex-PM Manmohan Singh, his wife Gursharan Kaur vote in Dispur in Assam
The third and final phase of polling in five Lok Sabha seats across the northeastern States of Assam and Tripura recorded a voter turnout of more than 80% on Tuesday.
Polling was conducted in 20 of the region’s 25 parliamentary seats in the previous two phases.
Electoral officials in Assam said an average 80.12% voters had exercised their franchise in Barpeta, Dhubri, Gauhati, and Kokrajhar constituencies. Their Tripura counterpart said the poll percentage in the Tripura East seat was 80.04%.
The figure in both States is expected to increase after reports from remote booths come in.
Though polling in the two States was peaceful, faulty electronic voting machines irritated and frustrated voters in several booths. Officials said that such EVMs were replaced within a short time for polling to resume.
Harekrishna Deka, Assam’s former Director General of Police, hinted at EVM tampering too after casting his vote at a booth in a central locality of Guwahati.
“The EVM registered my vote in favour of a candidate I did not press the button for. When I took up the matter, the polling officials said I can challenge it by paying a fee of ₹2. They also warned that I will be punished if it is proved I made a false claim. I decided against challenging since there was no way I could prove it,” he said.
About 4 km from where Mr. Deka voted, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur exercised their franchise at the Dispur Government Higher Secondary School that falls under the Dispur Assembly segment of the Gauhati LS seat. Mr. Singh has been a Rajya Sabha member from Assam since 1991. His current term expires on June 14.
The degree of enthusiasm among voters was best exemplified by 68-year-old Bashir Ali, a cancer patient in the last stage of his ailment. Accompanied by his childhood friend Mukut Choudhury, he came from the hospital to cast his vote.
The day also saw voters of Ekrajuli, a village under the Kokrajhar Lok Sabha seat, boycotting the polls to protest the government’s alleged indifference that deprived their area of various development schemes.
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