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Solution evades Rabhas at meet

Guwahati/Dhubri, Dec. 20: The Prithibi Majhi-headed cabinet sub-committee today assured Rabha organisations of April elections to the three autonomous councils of Rabha Hasong, Mising and Sonowal Kachari but the Rabha Hasong Joint Movement Committee stuck to its demands.

“Ministers and senior officials assured us that the council election would be held in April but we stood by our decision taken yesterday that election to the autonomous council should be held before panchayat poll and that the dates should be announced by December 31,” said Tonkeswar Rabha, president of All Rabha Students’ Union, which spearheads Rabha Hasong Joint Movement Committee, forum of 34 Rabha organisations.

Rabha told The Telegraph that the meeting had failed to hammer out any solution to the council election.

However, Bharat Chandra Narah, press adviser to the chief minister, and minister of state for welfare of plains tribes and other backward classes, Rajib Lochan Pegu, were hopeful about convincing the Rabha organisations to cooperate with the government in holding of the panchayat election since it has already been notified.

“We assured the Rabha organisations of recommending to the state election commission to hold elections to the three councils in April. We tried to impress upon them that the other two councils had not opposed the panchayat polls. They have not given us any commitment but will get back to us after discussing the issue among themselves. We are hopeful of a positive outcome,” Pegu said.

Narah said a meeting of ministers, convened by chief minister Tarun Gogoi yesterday, recommended council elections in April but it was left to the sub-committee to prepare the groundwork for the exercise by engaging with the organisations.

Sources said Rabha organisations were not buying the assurance at face value because similar promises have been made in the past. They said the organisations would come on board if the poll dates were announced before the deadline.

The panchayat election was not held last time because of protests.

but the government has not yet given up hope because the last word has not been heard on the issue.