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Photo voter roll in bypoll

Silchar, Jan. 27: Photo electoral rolls will be used for the first time in Assam during the Algapur bypolls in Hailakandi district scheduled for February 24.

Hailakandi’s deputy commissioner and returning officer for Algapur bypoll S. Thiek today said all the arrangements to compile the electoral rolls would be completed by the second week of next month.

Sources in the election department said the photo electoral rolls will be published throughout the state on February 5 and that it will make its debut in Algapur bypoll.

The draft electoral roll was published in October.

At present, voters in the state have to produce government documents as proof before casting their votes.

The Election Commission, sources said, had asked the state chief electoral officer to compile the photo electoral rolls soon after the 2011 Assembly elections, so that it could be introduced in the next Lok Sabha polls.

The photo electoral roll system was introduced in the 2009 general elections, barring Nagaland, Assam and Jammu and Kashmir.

The much-awaited launch of the pilot project took place in four Assembly constituencies — Gauhati East, Gauhati West, Dispur and Jalukbari — in January 2011.

The total number of voters in the constituency, according to Thiek, is 1,42,702 and number of polling stations is 117. The last date for submission of nomination papers is February 6.

The counting will take place at the Algapur basic training centre on February 28, district election officer Parag Kumar Kakati added.

The bypoll in Algapur was necessitated by the demise of former Assam minister and four times AGP MLA Shahidul Alam Choudhury last month.

AGP president Prafulla Mahanta, who had visited Algapur constituency this month, did not rule out the possibility of nominating someone from the family of Shahidul Alam Choudhury.

Among those who are slated to bag the nomination as an AGP candidate are Shahidul’s widow, a professor in English at Hailakandi’s S.S. College, Momduda Yasmin and Naharujjaman Choudhury, one of his nephews.

Raja Sengupta, a youth leader of the AGP, and Kamrul Islam Choudhury are also in the fray.

AIUDF chief Badrudin Ajmal said his party would field a candidate from Algapur.


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