| Activists take out a rally in Guwahati to protest against the Rabha Hasong violence. File picture |
Dhubri, March 13: The Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council poll scheduled for April 30 is likely to be delayed owing to the continuing process of preparing the final draft of villages and general councils for delimitation.
Though the state election commission extended the date of publishing of the final draft from March 8 to 15, officials in Goalpara expressed their inability to complete the process within the deadline.
Goalpara deputy commissioner Pritam Saikia said half of the hearings of claims and objections had been completed and officials were trying to complete the process at the earliest. “The date of completion of the hearing has been extended to March 15. But it is not possible to dispose the rest of the claims and objections by that date as it will take another seven to 10 days before the process of compiling the reports can start. I am expecting the final draft will be published by the end of this month,” he said.
A section of senior officials in Goalpara and Kamrup districts said the delay in the electioneering is likely to lead to the postponement of the council poll since the commission has to announce fresh dates.
The poll panel has also directed the district administration to complete the counting of votes in the gaon and anchalik panchayats.
“The counting, which was held back owing to the unrest in the Rabha areas, would be taken up on March 18 and 19. Efforts are also being made to publish the final draft of the villages and general councils by the end of this month,” an official source said.
He said an all-party meting was convened by Saikia on March 7 where it was decided to go for counting for 21 gaon panchayats, anchalik panchayats and village wards where the poll passed off without trouble and keep the ballots of zila parishad election under seal in boxes.
On the other hand, several Rabha organisations have alleged that the government machinery was deliberately delaying the council poll.
“The state government is intentionally delaying the poll process since it has no reason to repeatedly fail in adhering to the date announced by the state election commissioner,” a leader of a tribal organisation alleged.
The convener of Rabha Hasong Joint Movement Forum, Jiban Chandra Rabha, alleged that a “third force” had engineered the violence during the panchayat poll last month. “We have evidence of the involvement of two ministers, two parliamentary secretaries and a legislator in inciting the violence. We will disclose their names at the proper time,” he said.
The forum has declared the 20 people who died in police firing and group clashes as “national martyrs” and taken up the responsibility of the education of the victims’ children.