*13 violence incidents reported: IGP
By Pradeep Kumar
ITANAGAR, Apr 12: Arunachal Pradesh recorded and estimated 71.08% polling during simultaneous election conducted for two Lok Sabha and 57 Assembly seats on Thursday as peer reports received till 5 pm on Friday, said additional chief electoral officer (ACEO) Kanki Darang.
The vote percentage, which is likely to go up, included 69.16% males and 72.96% females, he said, highest voting recorded by Assembly seats were Khonsa West (91.69%), Mebo (91.45%) and Changlang South (88.15%). Moreover, Malogam (Hayuliang Assembly seat) with one voter and Lututhang (Mukto assembly seat) with 35 voters recorded 100% voting. State Governor Brig. (Retd) B.D. Mishra and his wife Neelam Misra cast their votes at P-Sector GSS PB.
Polling team from 34 Assembly seats have returned to their to electronic voting machine receiving centres including by foot march from air-fed Vijoynagar in Changlang district while airlifted partially from Taksing and Pip-Sorang in Upper Subansiri and Kurung Kumey district respectively. The airlifting from air-fed Taksing and Pip-Sorang polling booths will continue on Saturday while return of polling teams from rest 36 Assembly seats is an ongoing process. Rs 6, 91,94,050 cash have been seized so far against Rs 4,38,05,130 during 2014 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.
State’s total 7, 94, 162 voters, including 4, 01, 601 women had cast their adult franchise though the process was marred by violence and destruction of EVMs for which in few polling booths (PBs) of total 2,202 failed to conduct polling.
Election special nodal officer IGP Sunil Garg, when asked about incidents of violence during election, said that 13 election related complaints, particularly East Kameng, Krung Kumey, Kra-Daddi and Longding district were received against which few cases have been received and investigations were on in rest cases. He confirmed about death of a youth at Palin in Kurung Kumey district who had succumbed to his death in local hospital.
When asked about who were behind burning down Sangram police station and damaging SDO vehicle in same district and why security officers of Longding-Pumao MLA Thnagwang Wangham of Longding district had resorted to firing many rounds in air, he said that probes were on. He also informed that a bus carrying polling team from Namsai met with an accident but none was injured. However, state’s overall law and order situation is normal, he added.
Group clash between two rival political parties at Pip-Sorang of Tali Assembly constituency under Kurung Kumey district around 9 am on Thursday had left three persons seriously injured, DGP SB K Singh had said. The trio were airlifted by state’s Sky One Mi-172 helicopter and admitted to Tomo Riba Institute of Health & Medical Science, Naharlagun police station OC inspector M Geyi confirmed.
Malfunctioning of EVMs in various PBs delayed the process during replacement, deputy CEO Liken Koyu said. He is right as that voting had started at Naharlagun social welfare, women & child welfare directorate PB at 9am as complained by voters standing outside in queue since 7 am and the election process continued till 7.30 pm.
Those responsible for arranging the election process, particularly district election officers had not given serious thought reflecting lack of experiences that caused avoidable problems for the voters to suffer.
The PBs in social welfare, women & child welfare (SWWCD) directorate and art & culture directorate are best example. First, there was no arrangement for physically challenged voters. Second, SWWCD PB had 1242 voters and two booths could have been arranged with enough available space. Same was the case with A&C directorate having two side by side booths (East with 1237 and West with 658 voters).
Had the voters been equally divided, East PB bothers would not have stood in queue under scorching heat for hours together. This was suggested by booth level officer Taba Natung but not implemented for reasons best known to those who matter.
Voters of both PBs in power SE office in A sector here, which was store and garage during NEFA days, also faced tough challenges as civil constructions are in process there.
Shops downed their shutters across Capital Complex as traders came to cast their votes. Hardly few shops were open. The democratic spirit was visible with mothers standing in queue carrying their children piggyback.
Electronic voting machines, including of Sogung Migang polling booth of Likabali Assembly constituency under Kangku circle of West Siang district, were damaged by miscreants, to be replaced by spare ones for the polling process go ahead.
Our correspondent adds from Tezu: Lohit district’s lone Assembly seat Tezu-Sunpura recording 84.72% turn out with 1,5193 voters (7,483 males & 7,710 females) of total 18,644 voters casting their votes. They in long queue stood since morning but braved scorching heat while young, old & physically impaired reflected their democratic spirit in all 35 PBs and the process was completed peacefully, said DC-cum-DEO Prince Dhawan.
A total of 45 companies of central armed paramilitary Forces comprising ITBP, CRPF, IRBn and SSB besides over 5,500 state civil police personnel were deployed with more security personnel in insurgency-hit Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts.
Additional wireless sets were brought from Delhi-based directorate of coordination police wireless for effective communication in this hilly state where communication poses tough challenges. In 281 of total 2,202 polling stations were identified as vulnerable and 662 as critical while 11 PBs exclusively for women.
The BJP had fielded candidates in all 60 Assembly seats to open account with Kento Jini (Along East in West Siang district), Taba Tedir (Yachuli seat in Lower Subansiri) and Phurpa Tsering (Dirang seat in West Kameng) winning unopposed. In remaining 57 seat, INC fielded nominees in 46 seats, NPP in 30, JD (U) in 15, JD(S) in 12, PPA in 9, one All India Party (AIP) and 11 independents while 12 candidates contested from West and East Lok Sabha seats. The counting of votes is slated for May 23.