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Assam Cong in ticket disarray
Protests mark rural poll preparations
- All eyes on nominees

Guwahati, Jan. 2: Protests and assaults marked the Congress’s preparation for the three-phase panchayat election today but the nominations for the first phase on January 30 ended without any untoward incident.

Insiders attributed the strife to “disregard” for the one-person-one-post principle and “parachuting” of candidates from outside.

Former legislator Hiranya Bora was allegedly assaulted at a hotel in Tezpur, the district headquarters of Sonitpur, where a meeting of senior leaders to select candidates for the rural polls was under way.

Some members of Hajo block Congress committee staged a daylong protest at Rajiv Bhawan here, demanding that it be allowed to function as before. In Jorhat district, the effigies of Kaliapani block Congress president Bikash Baruah and Biju Baruah, who was given the Congress ticket, were burnt today, to protest against her nomination. The women members of the block committee threatened to resign if the nomination was not withdrawn in favour of another candidate. Kaliapani gaon Panchayat is reserved for women. In Majuli, a section of Congress workers ransacked Rajiv Bhawan at Garmur and burnt the effigy of MP Ranee Narah over nominations.

Yesterday, Jonai block Congress office in Dhemaji district was ransacked by members unhappy with selection of candidates. There were also protests in Lakhimpur and Majuli.

Bora lodged an FIR at Tezpur police station, accusing former Sootea legislator Praneswar Basumatary and Pranjit Bhuyan of assaulting him, and then got himself admitted to a private hospital.

Basumatary told The Telegraph Bora and NSUI president Partha Pratim Bora had quarelled with others at the meeting and he was in no way involved in the case. Bora and Basumatary are not on cordial terms since Bora replaced him as the Sootea candidate in the last Assembly election.

Senior party leaders Nurjuama Sarkar and Ripun Bora, who were present at the venue, said they were not aware of what happened downstairs but would look into the matter.

The protest at Rajiv Bhawan here, bigger than the ones witnessed last week, ended with Assam PCC president Bhubaneswar Kalita conveying through vice-president Y.L. Karna that a joint meeting would be held soon to find an amicable solution to the Hajo block impasse.

The announcement assumes significance because the PCC had on Monday entrusted the responsibility of running the Hajo block Congress committee to Kamrup district Congress committee president H. Kalita after supporters of senior leader Kirip Chaliha demanded the Hajo unit be dissolved.

The state Congress also discussed the implementation of one-person-one-post rule today.

Party leaders said if MLAs and MPs can be kept away from holding posts in the PCC, then the same rule should be applied to the districts to resolve the problems the party is facing. They pointed to Union minister of state Ranee Narah, PWD minister Ajanta Neog and parliamentary secretaries Sumitra Patir and Sukur Ali, all of whom are also holding the posts of district presidents. They also said that no candidates from outside should be “paradropped” just before the election because panchayat remains an election “by the local, of the local and for the local”.


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