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PCC buys time on tickets

Guwahati, Jan. 10: The ruling Congress today put off announcing its list of candidates for the zilla parishad constituencies for the third phase of panchayat elections in Assam till Monday because of the “problematic” Kamrup and Goalpara districts.

The third phase of rural polls in Assam will be held on February 12.

Sources said Assam PCC president Bhubaneswar Kalita-headed 15-member state election committee, which met at a resort for over two hours here today, could final-ise the candidates for five of the seven districts, including Morigaon, Dhubri, Si-lchar, Hailakandi and Karimganj.

Everything is said to have passed off smoothly in the meeting, which was attended by chief minister Tarun Gogoi and senior cabinet and party leaders.

“Since there were problems with one constituency (Hajo) of Kamrup and Goalpara because of the Rabha-Hasong issue, the leadership decided to take some more time but it will be finalised by January 12-13 and formally released by January 14, two days before the filing of nominations for the third phase,” a source said.

Sources said apart from the yet-to-be-resolved clash between senior Hajo leaders Kirip Chaliha and Haren Das over control of the Hajo Block Congress, the demand by the media to take action against Chailha’s son for his alleged misconduct during a rally at Rajiv Bhawan here on December 31 or face boycott too seems to have weighed on the committee’s mind.

Both Chaliha and his son Arkashis had apologised for the “misunderstanding” with the media but the latter stuck to its demand of concrete action from the party to avoid repetition of such incidents.

As far as Goalpara was concerned, the leadership wants to wait till Saturday so that its poll rally that day in Goalpara passes off peacefully. “Finalising the list today could have adversely impacted the rally. The AIUDF is on a strong wicket in the district and any adverse development at the rally would only help its cause. It is a technical move,” a source said.

The decision has been guided by the “violent” reactions that followed the announcement of candidates in a few districts. There is a heavy rush for party nomination as the Congress, despite intense infighting, appears to be much ahead of its rivals, having won two panchayat and three Assembly elections since 2001.