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Fate of panchayat polls hinges on NRC fallouts

STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, July 6: Even though the Assam State Election Commission (ASEC) is preparing in full swing to conduct the ensuing panchayat polls, successful and smooth conduct of the polls will largely depend upon the post July 30 (date of publication of the complete draft NRC) situation. The Gauhati High Court has asked the ASEC to complete the entire exercise of conducting and declaration of the panchayat polls results by September 15.

ASEC commissioner HN Bora told The Sentinel that the Commission is fully prepared and ready to conduct the polls. He said while the electoral rolls for the panchayat polls are ready, the Commission has also completed the exercise of segregating seats for males and females. The State Government has also sanctioned necessary funds to successfully conduct the polls, he said. But despite the best efforts of the ASEC to smoothly conduct the panchayat polls, the fate of the rural polls in the State will be determined by the situation that might arise after publication of the complete draft NRC on July 30. There is apprehension and fear that certain elements will try to create disturbance and law and order problems in the State after July 30. Soon after the complete draft NRC publication around 50,000 government employees will have to engage themselves in another massive exercise of settling claims and objections of those whose names do not figure in the draft NRC.

Observers say that the panchayat elections for 2200 gaon panchayats in the State will also be a huge exercise. In case the post-July 30 situation compels Dispur to be more pre-occupied to deal with the NRC fallout, it will be a Herculean task for the ASEC to conduct the panchayat polls in a smooth manner. The five years of gaon panchayats in the State has already expired.

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