Tinsukia: With voting underway for the first phase of Assam Assembly elections in 47 constituencies on Saturday, there were reports of a polling officer having died on duty due to a heart-related ailment in Charaideo. In another incident from Bihpuria constituency, a presiding officer reportedly suffered a stroke and had to be rushed to the hospital.

According to officials, Tulsi Khanikar, the second polling officer deputed at 146 Salkhatani Lower Primary School in Seujpur village under Moranhat police station in Charaideo district of Upper Assam, complained of chest pain and uneasiness while on election duty on Saturday.

Khanikar was rushed to a nearby hospital where the doctors said he had suffered a stroke and declared him dead on arrival.

In another incident, a presiding officer had to be rushed to the hospital after he suffered a stroke while on duty.

Tarun Chandra Sarkar, presiding officer deputed at the Kachua Mazgaon polling station in Bihpuria constituency in Lakhimpur district was rushed to a nearby hospital after suffering a stroke.

Voting is underway in 11,537 polling stations, mostly covering the eastern Assam’s 12 districts. A total of 8,109,815 voters, including 4,032,481 females, are eligible to exercise their franchise.

While there were no reports of any major incident from the 47 constituencies, there were reports of a minor scuffle from a polling station at 106 Niz Moidumia LP School under the 117 Lahoal Constituency.

There were reports that an unknown person took out his pistol (allegedly being carried under ‘exempt’ category) after a minor quarrel with other voters. The police is said to have seized the arm and a case was lodged by one of the voters.

Sources said the accused person is a medical officer at one of public health centre and could carry arms in the exempt category.

“The person was drunk, and processed a licensed arms under exempted category. He has been taken into custody. The Returning Officer, Dibrugarh, has initiated action against the accused as per law,” the source said.

Meanwhile, 60.55 percent voter turnout was recorded until 3pm in the first phase of Assam Assembly elections.

COVID-19 protocols for the voters, including social distancing and thermal screening, are being maintained.

Election officials said that to avoid crowding, the number of voters for every booth has been brought down to a maximum of a thousand.

Over 30,000 Central Armed Police Forces along with thousands of state security forces have been deployed to maintain law and order during this phase.

(We will update this story with more details and official version.)

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