First phase of LS polls begins amid tight security

New Delhi, Apr. 7: The first phase of elections to elect members to the 16th Lok Sabha began on Monday morning amidst tight security in north east India.

Polling is taking place from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Kaliabor, Dibrugarh, Lakhimpur, Jorhat, and Tezpur seats.

A total of 51 candidates are in the fray, including five women. Over 64 lakh voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in this phase. Out of them, around 180,000 are first time voters.

Additional Chief Electoral Officer R. C. Jain was quoted in the media as saying that polling parties have reached their respective polling stations and added that 8,558 polling booths have been set up.

He said that 2710 polling stations are vulnerable.

Armed security forces will be deployed at over 1200 polling stations. Two helicopters will also be pressed into service on Monday.

The Election Commission has deployed micro observers at 743 polling stations.

Meanwhile, Election Commission has also decided to conduct live web casting at 200 polling booths and anyone can view the poll process through the link- ceoassam.nic.in. EoM.

Elaborate security arrangements have also been made to ensure free and fair polls in the west Tripura Parliamentary Constituency on Monday.

Indo-Bangladesh border has been sealed from Sunday and Section 144 has been invoked to check the entry of anti-social elements and militants from across the border.

As many as 35 companies of central para-military forces have already arrived in the state to ensure free and fair election.The 16th Lok Sabha elections will begin tomorrow from northeast, with voting in five of the 14 seats in Assam and one of the two seats in Tripura.

Among the 51 candidates in the fray in the first phase are Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s son Gourav Gogoi, Union Minister Paban Singh Ghatowar, Union Minister Ranee Narah, state Bharatiya Janata Party president Sarbananda Sonowal and sitting Asom Gana Parishad MP Joseph Toppo.

In the Left Front-ruled Tripura, the election will witness a multi-cornered contest among CPI(M), Congress, Trinamool Congress and the BJP.

There are 13 candidates in the fray in West Tripura. Some of the prominent among them are CPI(M)’s Shankar Prasad Dutta, secretary of the state unit of CITU; Congress’ Arunoday Saha, former vice-Chancellor of Tripura Central University; Sudhindra Dasgupta,BJP’s state unit chief; and Chairman of the state unit of TMC and former minister Ratan Chakraborty.

The election to elect the 16th Lok Sabha from a total of 543 seats will be held in nine phases.

The last poll day is May 12 and the counting of votes will take on May 16, well ahead of expiry of the five-year term of the current Lok Sabha on May 31. (ANI)