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HC fixes panchayat poll roadmap

GUWAHATI, May 29: The Gauhati High Court on Tuesday asked the Assam State Election Commission to conduct the ensuing panchayat polls in three phases and finish the entire exercise by September 15. The high court has also asked the State Government to constitute committees to run gaon panchayats, anchalik parishads and zila parishads till the election is held and new elected bodies are constituted.

The terms of gaon panchayats, anchalik parishads and zila parishads have already expired. The last panchayat election was held on January 30, February 6 and 12 in 2013. The results were declared on February 16.
Even though panchayat polls were supposed to be held in April-end this year, the election could not be held due to engagement of a large number of government employees and officials in the ongoing NRC update work. In March this year, the Supreme Court rejected a plea by the Assam State Election Commission to divert local staff engaged in updating the NRC to poll duties associated with impending panchayat elections. The apex court said the commission can use Additional DCs but not DCs in panchayat poll duties due to the ongoing NRC update.

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Ankur Kalita