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Tough day for voters in Arunachal
Published on 13 Oct. 2009 11:49 PM IST
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For more than 500 voters of Itanagar’s Doimukh and Sagalee constituencies in Papum Pare district, the district administration came as their biggest impediment while exercising their electoral rights today. These people had to travel nearly 25 km on foot beating the autumn heat to cast their votes as the district administration prohibited plying of any private vehicle as a measure to ensure free and fair polling. ‘’Restriction in movement of vehicles has greatly affected the voter turnout as people are not in a mood to cast votes without any mode of transportation to ferry them,’’ commented Nabam Talo, a youth who walked five km to exercise his franchise at Midpu polling stations under Doimukh constituency bordering Assam. The district administration should have arranged other alternatives to enable voters to cast their ballots, he said adding, ‘’Our democratic rights have been curtailed.’’ ‘’We have been waiting for the last five years for this day but there is hardly any chance for us to go and vote without any mode of communication,’’ said H Tara, a local from Gumto village under Doimukh, who along with a few of his friends was waiting since morning for a vehicle to go to the booth situated ten km ahead of their village. The administration had not only prohibited movement in vehicles but also prevented the media from entering polling stations despite having the Election Commissions card. Police today seized a large number of motorcycles and vehicles without registration numbers and cash from vehicles of contesting candidates. Capital DC-cum-returning officer Padmini Singala seized a vehicle of NCP candidate from Itanagar Techi Kasso for allegedly displaying an authority letter with forged signature, reported UNI. Personnel from Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) also seized Rs 1.53 lakh from a car belonging to the wife of Congress candidate from Itanagar Kipa Babu near Naharlagun when she was on her way to a particular booth, police informed. Police also seized two vehicles of BJP nominee Lechi Legi from Itanagar for not bearing any registration number. Yesterday, the police had seized 494 unregistered bikes and 255 vehicles allegedly distributed by contesting candidates to voters. The seized vehicles and the cash would be released after 1900 hours, sources added. Sporadic incidents of violence reported Barring stray incidents of violence in certain parts of the state, polling, which began at 0700 hours, was largely peaceful till 1400 hours. Polling began moderately but gained momentum as the day progressed. Despite elaborate security measures, few sporadic incidents of violence were reported from various parts of the state. Trinamool Congress workers destroyed an Electronic Voting Machine at Hari polling station under Ziro-Hapoli constituency in Lower Subansiri district forcing the election authority to adjourn voting there. According to unofficial sources, Congress workers damaged a few vehicles of BJP candidates at Liromoba constituency in West Siang district besides Lekang in Lohit district. Congress candidate from Khonsa East seat T L Rajkumar informed that a few cadres from one of the factions of the NSCN allegedly beat up several Congress supporters at Tutnu, Kolam and Ngoithong villages and took captive two Congress workers, reported UNI. ‘’Voters could not exercise their franchise due to fear and left the polling station at Tutnu. We are going to demand re-polling in this booth from the Election Commission,’’ he added. Altogether 154 contestants were trying their electoral luck in 57 constituencies. The Congress has already opened its account with three uncontested candidates, including Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu (Mukto), Tsewang Dhondup (Tawang) and newcomer Jambey Tashi (Lumla). Significantly all the three represent Tawang district. Of the total 7,49,952 electorate and 2,063 polling stations, an estimated 7,25,202 voters, including service voters, would exercise their franchise in 2,005 polling stations spread across the state, except Tawang. Of the total booths, 512 polling booths had been identified as sensitive and 511 hypersensitive. Besides the available police forces and other armed forces in the state, an additional 32 companies of the central paramilitary forces had been deployed in sensitive areas.

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