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CIMA Gallary

Poll & party burden on panel

Guwahati, Jan. 11: The Assam state election commission, which has been entrusted with the responsibility of conducting the three-phase panchayat election, is also having to finalise candidates with several aspirants from a single party filing nominations for a single post.

State election commissioner Biren Dutta told The Telegraph here this evening that all the parties, barring the Left, have fielded more than one candidate in most districts without naming the parties.

“It is a violation of poll ethics. We have decided to accept the nomination of the candidate who was the first to file his papers from a party. Moreover, if a candidate is nominated by the district president and another by the state president for a post, we will accept the candidate endorsed by the state president. I have asked the district administration to stick to this thumb rule,” Dutta said.

He said cases of a few district presidents nominating more than one person were more common than the state presidents doing so. “We have had reports from Rangiya, Nagaon and Barpeta, among others.” He also said the state election commission cannot be legally challenged under the Constitution till the election process is over.

Nominations for the first two phases were held on January 2 and 8 while their dates of withdrawal are January 8 and 17. Nomination for the third phase is slated for January 16.

In another poll-related development, chief minister Tarun Gogoi said dissidence within the Congress was because of the panchayat poll but added that it would not hamper the party’s prospects at the hustings.

“Dissidence in a large political party like the Congress is quite natural. Such development is now considered normal and routine during Lok Sabha and Assembly polls. Panchayat election is no exception. It is good to see such demand for tickets to contest and serve the people on behalf of the Congress,” he said.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a function here today, he also denied allegations that the Congress was giving tickets to candidates with “serious and grave” criminal charges.