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Gullible villagers hope for monetary benefits

Our Correspondent
KOKRAJHAR, June 20: Hundreds of villagers from the far-flung areas of Kokrajhar and Chirang districts of lower Assam are excited to get money through Voters’ Party International (VPI) identity cards. The party has been working, especially in remote places where the literacy rates are low, to get people’s support so that their candidates win in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Several hundred people from remote villages of Kokrajhar and Chirang, mostly Bodos and Adivasis, on Wednesday came to Kokrajhar town to join the demonstration staged by the VPI, Kokrajhar district committee at Children Park and submitted memorandum to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal through the Kokrajhar DC demanding direction to the office of the Department of Home, Government of Assam, to restore police protection to Bharat Gandhi and to upgrade the number of his security personnel. They also demanded direction from the Chief Minister to the office of Principal Secretary of the Department of Home for granting permission to CID for legal action in crimes committed against Bharat Gandhi and his associates of VPI in various districts of Assam, direction to the cabinet secretary to ban all types of bandh in the state and fix responsibility of death caused by bandhs, and to issue direction to the office of Principal Secretary, Department of Home, to grant police protection to the State president and all district presidents of VPI, including Karbi Anglong and BTC, where they alleged that their party bearers had been manhandled.

The demonstration in Kokrajhar was led by the president of Kokrajhar district VPI, Suraj Brahma, treasurer Dipak Basumatary, secretary Thanman Daimary and in-charge of Kokrajhar district VPI, Rajesh Narzary. Interestingly, the villagers who came for the demonstration brought identity cards issued by the VPI and some xerox centres in Kokrajhar were seen extremely busy copying the I-cards. The identity cards issued by the VPI had neither signature of issuing authority nor holder of card and there was only seal of VPI which was also not clear.

When the media persons asked the villagers about the identity cards, they said that they got the identity cards after paying Rs. 250 to VPI. They also said they had got voter’s right after becoming members of the VPI and they would get Rs 50,000 as benefit annually. They, however, were silent when asked what actually voter’s right meant. They simply said that after getting identity card from the VPI, they had become eligible to get money from the Government of India.

VPI has been organizing meetings in remote places, especially in the northern part of BTC area where literacy rate is low. The leaders of the VPI called upon the people to vote for VPI-backed candidates in the general elections of 2019.