GUWAHATI, July 22: The Assam State Election Commission (SEC) is fast sinking into a quagmire of pending polls. It is a hot mess. The root cause of the problem is NRC update, and nobody knows as to when the citizenship registration process will find its logical end.
The pending elections that have already lined up include the panchayat poll and NC Hills Autonomous Council (NCHAC) polls. Holding panchayat poll is always an uphill task that involves much manpower and money, including a massive security bandobast. As if to cap it all, the term of the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) is going to expire on this July 31. Also in the line is urban and civic body election, not to speak of the Lok Sabha election slated to be held in early 2019.
The Gauhati High Court has already set a deadline for the Assam State Election Commission (SEC) to conduct the panchayat election in the State by September 15 this year. A conscience-pricking question is: will the SEC be able to hold the panchayat poll within the timeline set by the High Court? For holding the panchayat poll, the SEC needs manpower and a massive security bandobast. As of now, the SEC has none of these two. It is left with little manpower as over 50,000 employees of the State government have been engaged in the NRC update work. Even as the complete NRC draft is slated to be published on July 30, the employees are not supposed to be freed as they will have to prepare the final NRC after verifying claims and objections. They will have to compile data and hold hearings. But then, if the SEC misses the pachayat poll bus now, when will it hold the election? If the Election Commission of India holds the Lok Sabha election in April/May in 2019, little time will be left for the SEC to hold the rural poll in the State.