Around 50 per cent polling was recorded in the first phase of the panchayat election in Assam on Wednesday, during which voters at several places complained of anomalies in ballot papers and voters list, officials said. Nearly 50 per cent votes were polled till the closing time of 3 pm but the exact figure would be known late in the evening as there were still long queues of voters at several polling stations, State Election Commission (SEC) sources said.
Anomalies in ballot papers and voters lists were found at several places in Kamrup, Tinsukia, Biswanath and Jorhat districts. Complaints of mismatch in the candidate's name and party in ballot papers came from Nagarbera area in Kamrup district and Tipaimukh in Tinsukia district, while incorrect names of contestants were also detected in ballot papers at Lachitgarh Gaon in Kamrup district, the sources said.
Contestant's names were also missing in ballot papers at Titabor in Jorhat district. State Election Commissioner H N Bora told PTI that the anomalies in ballot papers were settled locally with the printing of fresh ballot papers to continue the voting process.
The SEC attributed the name-symbol mismatch in ballot papers to "careless printing". There were also reports that people burnt some ballot papers at Hathipara in Nagaon district alleging poor quality of the papers, affecting the polling process temporarily. Bora said he was waiting for police reports on this. People also expressed resentment at their names being missing from the voters' lists at Duliajan, Jalukbari, Pragjyotishpura and Amsing near Guwahati, Tatunbari in Gohpur area of Biswanath district.
The SEC said it is the responsibility of the voters to check if their names are there in the voter's list before the hustings. The names of the voters for the election were taken from the 2016 assembly polls voters list with a supplementary one updated till 2017, he said. Bora said repoll if required, would be ordered after receiving reports from the district administrations.
The person, suspected to be mentally unstable, first beat up some voters standing in a queue and later attacked the security at Habibul gaon polling station at 7 am. The security personnel fired at him in self-defence injuring him in his leg, police said adding that he has been hospitalised.
The first phase polls were held in 16 districts to decide the political fate of 43,515 contestants in 15,899 posts in the three tiers of Panchayati Raj - Zilla Parishad, Anchalik Panchayat and Gaon Panchayat, the sources said.
Altogether 442 candidates of various parties have already been declared winners uncontested. The second phase of polling will be held on December 9 and counting will take place on December 12. The SEC has restricted the media from publishing or airing results of exit poll until the completion of the polling process on December 9.
(With inputs from agencies.)