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53 pc voter turnout till 3 PM in Arunachal

Violence reported in few places

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ITANAGAR, April 19: Amid reports of violence from a few districts in Arunachal Pradesh, over 53 per cent of 8.92 lakh electors cast their votes till 3 PM on Friday in the northeastern state where polling for two Lok Sabha seats and 50 assembly constituencies is underway, officials said.

Supporters of two candidates clashed near a polling station in the Bameng constituency in East Kameng district, Inspector General of Police (Law & Order) Chukhu Apa said, adding that the situation was brought under control and polling is continuing.

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Incidents of EVM damage were also reported from three polling stations in East Kameng, Kurung Kumey and Upper Subansiri districts, the police officer said.

Polling resumed there after the replacement of machines and the situation is “now peaceful”, he said.

The turnout, which was moderate in the morning hours due to inclement weather, improved later in the day.

In a few polling stations, voting got delayed in the morning as the electronic voting machines (EVMs) developed a technical snag, and later the machines were replaced, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Pawan Kumar Sain said.

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The ruling BJP has already won ten seats unopposed in the 60-member assembly.

Union earth sciences minister Kiren Rijiju, chief minister Pema Khandu and Deputy CM Chowna Mein exercised their franchise this morning.

Rijiju cast his vote in his village Nafra in the newly created Bichom district, while Khandu exercised his franchise at a government secondary school in Bomba, from where he did his schooling, in Mukto constituency in Tawang district, the officials said.

Mein also exercised his franchise at Chowkham.

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Governor Lt Gen (Retd) K T Parnaik and his wife Anagha Parnaik cast their votes at polling station-1 at P Sector government secondary school here.

“I had cast my vote as per the Constitutional privilege I have and I appeal to all the voters of the state to exercise their franchise and make our democracy a success,” the governor told reporters.

Altogether 8,92,694 voters will decide the electoral fate of 133 candidates in the assembly elections and 14 Lok Sabha poll contestants.

In the Arunachal West parliamentary seat, eight candidates, including Union Minister Kiren Rijiju and state Congress president Nabam Tuki, are in the fray.

Sitting BJP MP Tapir Gao and state Congress vice president Bosiram Siram are among the six candidates who are contesting from the Arunachal East.

According to reports from various districts, the polling remained “peaceful so far”, the CEO said.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha and assembly polls, which were held simultaneously, the state witnessed a record 83.33 per cent voting.

Counting of votes for assembly elections will be held on June 2, while that of Lok Sabha polls is scheduled on June 4. (PTI)

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