BY OUR BUREAU
KOKRAJHAR/GUWAHATI, April 8: Elections to the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) were held peacefully on Wednesday. The polling percentage till the end of balloting at 4 pm was recorded at 75 per cent, but officials said the fil figure was likely to increase.
Reports reaching here said that voting was peaceful and there were no reports of any major disturbances from anywhere in Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri, which fall in the Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD) administered by the BTC.
However, reports said people in some areas boycotted the polls due to some problems.
"The elections remained peaceful throughout the day," said Assam State Election Commission Commissioner HN Bora.
Polling started at 8 am across all 2,778 polling stations in the four districts. There are a total of 20,67,005 voters, up by 11 per cent compared to the 2010 BTC polls. A total of 315 candidates, including nine women, contested the polls for the 40 constituencies under the council.
The Assam governor later nomites six members from the unrepresented communities in the region.
There were a total of 2,778 polling stations, of which 678 were desigted hyper-sensitive and 996 sensitive.
Around 15,000 polling staff were arranged for smooth conduct of polls.
Eighty-two companies of paramilitary forces were deployed for area domition.
Fifteen election observers oversaw the exercise.
Repoll will be held in two polling stations - Charaibil under the Gossaigaon sub-division and Harisinga under the Udalguri sub-division - on April 10. Counting will be held on April 11.
In view of the elections to the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), the intertiol border gates along the India-Bhutan border were sealed and restrictions were imposed on the movement of people/vehicles through the gates from 6 pm on April 7 to 6 pm of April 8.
The Bodoland election assumes significance for political parties in Assam, particularly ahead of Assembly elections early next year.
Apart from the ruling Bodoland Peoples' Front (BPF), which has been in power in the council since the first election in 2005, the BJP and the Congress have also fielded 40 candidates each in all the constituencies.
The All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), the Asom Ga Parishad (AGP), the CPI-M, and the CPI also fielded candidates in some constituencies.
A total of 151 independent candidates contested this time, including 40 supported by the Peoples' Coordition of Democratic Rights (PCDR), a newly floated conglomeration of various communities living in the BTAD.