The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘Canvassing’ druglord sparks bypoll furore

Jamunamukh, Nov. 4: Campaigning for the November 6 byelection for this sensitive constituency came to an end this afternoon, but not without a final spurt of controversy. This time, it was the alleged canvassing by druglord Pakhi Miyan, who reportedly attended several Congress rallies here yesterday, that raised hackles.

A non-bailable arrest warrant was issued against Miyan for the killing of revenue intelligence officer Tarun Kumar Dutta in Guwahati on September 12. Miyan has been absconding since.

Supporters of the Congress and the Assam United Democratic Front (AUDF), the two main players, have been engaged in street battles over the past few days, with the latter accusing the ruling party of using “Miyan and his money” to win.

Thousands of AUDF workers today blocked National Highway 36 at Doboka in protest against alleged atrocities perpetrated by the Congress on its workers here over the past week.

“Miyan took part in a series of Congress rallies yesterday. We have eyewitnesses to prove it,” senior AUDF functionary Mainuddin Ahmed said. One of the “eyewitnesses”, Bahadur Islam, claimed that “Miyan was moving around in a red Tavera and had attended rallies at Methigaon, Gonpur, Ambari and Nilbagan”. A youth from Methigaon said Miyan had gone door to door, seeking votes for Congress candidate Khalilur Rahman Choudhury, who left the AGP days before filing his nomination.

Police, however, denied any knowledge of Miyan’s presence at Jamunamukh. “We do not have any report on Pakhi Miyan entering the constituency,” Hojai sub-divisional police officer Girin Medhi said. The Congress also denied using the drug baron for the elections.

“We have got nothing to do with a man wanted by police,” a Congress campaign manager said.

AUDF Hojai unit general secretary Halalludin said over 56 party supporters have been assaulted by Congress workers in the constituency since October 27.

Returning officer Rofique Ali informed that 18 cases of violation of the code of conduct have been registered. Of them, 15 were filed by the AUDF and three by the Congress.

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