Guwahati, 7 April-2014,Prabin Kalita(IANS): More than 76 lakh voters from six constituencies — five in Assam and one in Tripura — will kick off the country’s nine-phase general elections on April 7, as weeks of hectic campaigning came to an end on Saturday evening.
In the first phase, voters in five constituencies in Assam — Lakhimpur, Tezpur, Kaliabor, Jorhat and Dibrugarh — will elect their MPs. A total of 1,221 polling stations will be in operation, out of which 8,588 are hypersensitive and will see a higher deployment of security forces. In Tripura West constituency, state chief electoral officer Ashutosh Jindal said a three-tier security arrangement has been made across the state for peaceful election. The Indo-Bangladesh international border in Tripura has been sealed to prevent any cross-border infiltration during the election process.
The Election Commission has pressed a team of engineers from Electronics Corporation of India Limited and Bharat Electronics Limited for foolproof re-checking of all EVMs after several were found to be malfunctioning. One EVM in Jorhat left authorities flummoxed last week after every button which was pressed registered a vote in favour of BJP. The machine has been replaced. Three more such EVMs were found in Jorhat on Friday.
“We have ordered re-checking of all EVMs to detect any malfunction. Defective pieces will not be sent for polling,” state chief electoral officer Vijyandra said.
“We are all ready for polls,” Assam additional chief electoral officer R C Jain told TOI. “The 1,221 hypersensitive polling stations will have static forces deployed. The other polling stations will be covered by mobile patrol parties.
The ECI has also categorized 2,710 polling stations as ‘critical’ as these have a record of polling over 90% votes, with 75% going in favour of one candidate.
In Tripura, Jindal said the duration of polling has been extended by an hour, ie from 7am to 5pm. The timings apply across the northeast, except in Manipur and Nagaland.
Assam will vote in two more phases. Three constituencies will vote on April 12 and the remaining six will vote on April 24. Polling for the East Tripura (ST Reserve) seat will be held on April 12.