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Talks held on GMC polls

Jan. 7: The Assam State Election Commission today held a meeting on election to Guwahati Municipal Corporation.

The last GMC election was held in December 2003.

“The state election officer today convened a meeting to set the ball rolling. The meeting has come after Gauhati High Court sent a directive in this regard. The meeting sought to hold the election as early as possible,” Kamrup (metro) deputy commissioner Ashutosh Agnihotri said.

The details would be made available as soon as they received letters from the state government, he said.

In October, the high court issued a directive to the authorities concerned to take necessary and expeditious initiative for conducting a poll at the earliest in consultation with the Assam State Election Commission.

The corporation has been functioning without elected representatives since the previous council of the GMC was dissolved in May 2008. Different organisations have been alleging that absence of an elected body in the corporation has affected transparency in its functioning.

In January this year, a forum of former councillors of the corporation had written to the state poll panel seeking to know the reasons for the delay in holding election to the corporation.

The GMC Ex-councillors Forum had urged the commission to state the reasons for the delay in holding GMC polls. Members of the forum said they were concerned that the capital city of Assam, which is also the premier city of the Northeast, does not have a local self-government since 2008.

At present, the city residents do not have any elected representative who they can approach for redressal of their grievances. In the absence of elected representatives of the people, the corporation is now being run by officials many of who are allegedly not easily accessible.

Although the Assam government was supposed to hold the election in 2009, it could not do so as the high court had passed an interim stay order for the election as Khanindra Nath Das, a city resident, moved the court challenging the government’s decisions in this regard.