Arunachal bypolls: Voting begins amid tight security

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Itangar: Voting for the high stakes bypolls in two assembly constituencies of Arunachal Pradesh Pakke-Kessang and Likabali began here today amid tight security.

Sources in the election office said the polling began at 7am with people arriving to exercise their franchise across booths, braving the chill and misty conditions.

Elaborate security arrangements have been put in place with state police, ITBP and four companies of central paramilitary forces deployed at all booths, Joint Chief Electoral Officer D J Bhattacharjee said.

The CRPF and IRB personnel would be covering the critical booths, he said.

Around 150 polling personnel have been deployed for Pakke-Kessang seat and 220 for Likabali, Bhattacharjee said.

The Election Commission has appointed general and expenditure observers to oversee the entire polling process.

A total of 18,063 voters will decide the fate of six candidates in the fray.

Former Deputy Chief Minister Kameng Dolo of the Congress has locked horns with BJP nominee B R Waghe in Pakke-Kessang, where 7,455 voters, including 3943 females, would exercise their franchise at 29 polling stations.

The Likabali constituency would witness a multi-cornered contest with four candidates in the fray – Kardo Nyigyor of the BJP, Modam Dini of the Congress, Gumke Riba of Peoples’ Party of Arunachal and Independent candidate Sengo Taipodia.

More than 10,600 electorates, including over 5300 female voters, would cast their votes in 39 polling stations in Likabali.

The Pakke-Kessang seat fell vacant after the Gauhati High Court declared the election of Kameng Dolo in March 2014 ‘null and void’ in response to an election petition filed by BJP nominee and former minister Atum Welly.

Welly had alleged that a letter with his forged signature was submitted to the EC, requesting withdrawal of his candidaturem and he had no knowledge about it. Dolo had won the election unopposed in 2014.

The bypoll in Likabali seat was necessitated following the death of Health and Family Welfare Minister Jomde Kena on September 4 at a hospital in Guwahati.

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