The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cong in early poll signal

Guwahati, May 9: The Congress high command has directed the Assam unit to pull up its socks for possible early elections in the state. These might be held in late December or early January.

Elections are scheduled for May next year.

A senior state Congress leader said AICC general secretary in charge of Assam, Digvijay Singh, had made this clear during his visit to the state last week. He told the party honchos here to get their act together and fulfil the promises made in the party manifesto by September.

Sources said given the pace at which preparations for the National Games were moving, it was likely that the grand sporting event would be held on schedule in November.

Robin Bordoloi, sports adviser to chief minister Tarun Gogoi, has said the Games would be held on schedule for the first time in its history. The party, therefore, wants to carry forward the goodwill generated from the Games, expecting a windfall at the hustings.

But plans for early elections might not ultimately bear fruit, thanks to the delimitation exercise. If delimitation of constituencies is completed by July, as the delimitation commission has projected, the Congress would prefer to give more time to party legislators and ticket aspirants to get acquainted with the new structure and topography of their constituencies. 'That will take up valuable time,' a source pointed out.

Singh also took a dim view of the delay in holding the election to the PCC chief’s post following internal squabbles.

He also issued strict instructions to the state unit to set its house in order, fixing May 22 as the new and final date for the election.

He asked the party leadership to evolve a consensus on the issue to avoid protracted rivalry among party leaders over the post.

He warned that such rivalry would only create further problems for the Congress in the Assembly elections. A consensus on the party presidentship was imperative to gear up the party organisation for the Assembly elections.

The Congress has deferred the poll date from April as it searched for this elusive consensus. Apart from incumbent Bhubaneshwar Kalita, former PWD minister Sarat Barkatoki and Guwahati MP Kirip Chaliha are among the contenders for the post.

Youth drowned: A youth, Amrit Das, was drowned in the Brahmaputra today.

He slipped into the Brahmaputra at Umananda island. The victim was a boarder of Gyanjyoti Boys’ Hostel at Pub Sarania area of Guwahati.

The proprietor of the hostel informed Chandmari police station late this evening that Das was drowned when he visited the island with his friends.

Das hails from Dibrugarh district. The case has been forwarded to river police.

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