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86.51% turn out at Aonglenden

(L-R) Dr. Jamir is seen casting his vote at Arkong ward. (Left) Toshipokba, NPF candidate waiting to case vote at Ungma-IV. (NP/DIPR)
Correspondent KOHIMA/MOKOKCHUNG, MAY 7 (NPN):
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Published on 8 May. 2011 12:30 AM IST
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A total of 86.51% turnout was recorded for the 26 Aonglenden A/C by-election Saturday. The polling was by and large peaceful barring stray incidents reported such as stone pelting and booth capturing and arrest of one person from an underground cadre.
As per data made available to the media, the highest was recorded at Panchayat Hall, Aonglenden with 94.38% while the lowest was recorded at Kubza polling station with 68.88%.
People of all ages turned up at the polling stations to exercise their franchise with some elderly who needed assistance to even walk reached the polling stations to cast their votes.
Polling started by 8.00 a.m., where both the candidates Dr. S.C Jamir and Toshipokba cast their votes in Arkong Ward and Ungma respectively.
Meanwhile, briefing the media persons at his official chamber, chief election officer (CEO) J Alam said that the by-poll concluded peacefully in all the polling stations by 5 p.m. with poll percentage of 86.51% which was likely to go up further.
The counting of vote is scheduled for May 13 next and is likely to be completed in one or two hour as preparation for the counting has been arranged in a systematic way, Alam said. The EC has arranged 14 counters for the 14 Polling stations.
Altogether, about 11036 voters out of the total 12757 had caste their votes till 5 pm, he said. Tight security arrangements were made with more than 2000 police and central police forces deployed to maintain law and order and poll duties, he added.
He further stated that the poll percentage was higher by more than 10 percent compared to the last 2008 Assembly election-- 75.98%.
The CEO also admitted to have received reports about some fire crackers being burst near Arkakong polling station but said that there was no injuries or casualties and that the person involved was arrested.
“It was a free and fair election” and we have not received any complaint from any political party so far, the CEO said.
“We’re very pleased with the conduct of election” he said and referred to the last Assembly election in 2008 when there were re-poll in three polling stations because of the alleged booth capturing.
He further admitted that the exercises for EPIC has been carried out in the state but could not make it compulsory and assured that another exercise would be carried out soon in the state in the coming year.
Alam further admitted that despite the decreased in the population as per 2011 census there was no decrease in the eligible voters which stood at around 13 lakhs in the state.
Returning Officer and DC Mokokchung Lithrongla G Chishi while interacting with media after the by-poll said that the entire process was successful and conducted in a transparent manner.
On being queried about any demands for re-poll, she admitted that there was one complaint from the Congress but asserted that complaint did not hold much ground. On security arrangements, the RO said the state police made extensive arrangements with the help of central paramilitary forces and acknowledged the services of IRB, Mahila IR and the administrative officers.
Commenting on the stray incident, the RO admitted that there was report of stone pelting and bursting of fireworks however she added that the person involved was arrested.
The RO also said that an official videographer attached to a micro-observer meant for Arkong polling station had to be arrested and replaced because the videographer was allegedly drunk. On being queried about the involvement of underground cadres during election, the RO replied in the negative.
Meanwhile, the Superintendent of Police who was also present confirmed about the arrest of an NSCN (I-M) cadre at Kubza village by the Assam Rifles. Kubza village falls under Aonglenden constituency. However, the SP Liremo Lotha said that since the AR was yet to hand over to the police, he could not provide any further details.

 
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