The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Stage set for Assam rural polls

Guwahati, Nov. 13: Gauhati High Court today gave the state election commission the go-ahead to notify the date for the much awaited panchayat elections on November 16.

The court also asked the poll panel to hold the elections within a timeframe it has stipulated.

As a result, the formal notification will be out on Friday.

According to the schedule drawn up by the state poll panel, elections will be held in three phases.

The dates are December 31 for Upper Assam, January 4 for the central districts of the state and January 9 for Lower Assam. Sources said the process has to be completed within January 12.

Advocate B.J. Talukdar, who assisted advocate-general A.K. Phookan during the hearing, said the state government had supported the contention of the state election commission.

“Though the poll panel had submitted the entire schedule, the division bench headed by Chief Justice Jasti Chelameswar gave the go-ahead only for the notification,” he said.

On May 25, the high court had asked Dispur to conduct the gaon panchayat polls by October 31. In September, Dispur had pleaded its inability to do so.

All cases pertaining to panchayat polls now stand disposed following today’s go-ahead to the state poll panel.

Leaders of the ruling Congress went into a huddle this evening as soon as the court issued its order.

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