53 per cent polling in Arunachal municipal & panchayat polls

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Itanagar, Dec 22 (PTI) An estimated 53 per cent of the total 4,89,423 voters exercised their franchise for Municipal and Panchayat polls in Arunachal Pradesh on Tuesday, a senior official at the State Election Commission (SEC) said.

The polling which began at 7 am was moderate in the morning as chilly weather conditions kept most people indoors but gained momentum as the day progressed.

The polling for both rural and urban local bodies remained largely peaceful, barring a stray incident where supporters of a political party poured water over ballot boxes in a polling booth at Kamle district prompting the election authorities to suspend voting, SEC Secretary Nyali Ete told reporters here.

Re-polling in the booth would be held on December 24.

'The polling percentage will increase as data from various polling booths in remote districts are yet to be received. Moreover, in many polling booths, voting is going on,' Ete said.

A total of 2,58,894 electorates including 1,23,989 female voters and 7,080 voters on election duties cast their votes till 4 PM, Ete said, adding female voters outnumbered male voters in both the elections.

'The Commission had engaged 8,111 polling personnel and 5,360 security personnel on election duty,' Ete added.

Electronic voting machines (EVMs) were used for Itanagar Municipal Corporation (IMC) and Pasighat Municipal Council (PMC), while ballot papers were used for panchayats polls.

Altogether 6,500 candidates in 99 Zilla Parishad seats and 6,401 gram panchayats have won without any contest, Ete said.

Of the 20 seats of IMC, five candidates from the ruling BJP have been elected unopposed.

The fate of 36 candidates - 15 from BJP, 14 from Janata Dal (United), four from National Peoples Party (NPP) and three from the Congress - for remaining 15 wards of IMC have been sealed in EVMs, while 17 candidates are in the fray for eight seats of PMC, where the BJP and the Congress are contesting in all wards and the NPP in one.

Elections are not being held in the Dibang Valley district as all the segments in both Zilla Parishad and gram panchayat have been won by the ruling party unopposed, State Election Commissioner Hage Kojeen said.

East Siang is the only district where elections are being held in all the 120 polling stations, he said.

At least 110 gram panchayat segments in the state have fallen vacant due to various reasons. The SEC will take a final call on conducting by-elections in those segments after the current electoral process is over, the official said.

Counting of votes will take place on December 26.

State Governor Brig (Retd) Dr B D Mishra and his wife Neelam Mishra cast their vote at the P Sector Government Secondary School polling booth.

Impressed by the huge turnout, the governor appreciated the people for their enthusiastic participation and said that it reflects commendably well on their awareness and enthusiasm in the democratic process in the state.

The governor also appreciated the security personnel and government officials on election duty for the smooth conduct of the election inspite of COVID-19 pandemic and lauded the arrangements made to ensure the safety protocols.