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6 candidates in poll fray from Kokrajhar

Kokrajhar, April 9: A total of six candidates are in the fray from Kokrajhar (ST) Lok Sabha constituency, a first of its kind in history. Kokrajhar has never witnessed more than three to four candidates contesting since elections began in 1951-52.

Kokrajhar deputy commissioner and district election officer Nitin Khade said, “Of the nine candidates who filed nomination papers, two candidates, Salkan Murmu of Jharkhand Disom Party (JDP) and Haricharan Basumatary (Independent), were found invalid while another, Dilip Kumar Sarania (Independent), withdrew his nomination, leaving six candidates in the fray. Today was the last day for withdrawal of nominations. Kokrajhar goes to polls on April 24.”

“This has happened for the first time and we need to celebrate it as a triumph of democracy,” said a college teacher in Kokrajhar.

The independent candidates were today given their respective election symbols. Urkhao Gwra Brahma, the consensus Independent candidate of Absu and its allied organisations, was given the cup and saucer as his symbol while Sansuma Khunggur Bwiswmuthiary (Independent) was given the symbol of an auto-rickshaw. Naba Sarania, the consensus candidate of the Jonogosthiyo Oikyo Moncho, was given the torch as his symbol and Sabda Rabha (Independent) was given the symbol of a kettle.

The district election officer said they are geared up for the election and are prepared to conduct the polls in a free and fair manner. Khade said there are 762 licensed arms holders in Kokrajhar and out of them, 597 have deposited their arms and the remaining are likely to deposit shortly. He also said 18 illegal arms were seized by the administration.

Kokrajhar SP Sunil Kumar said they have taken steps to ensure a peaceful election. He said round-the-clock vigil along the border areas, including the Bengal inter-state and Indo-Bhutan international border, has been activated to thwart anti-social elements from carrying out any subversive activities. He said in addition to the existing 22 companies, three companies of the BSF have already arrived and more are likely to come. He also said four army units are helping the administration.

Terming it a good sign for democracy, Absu president Promod Boro said, “We need to appreciate that more people have come up to contest in the election this time. It is a good sign and will help strengthen democracy. We urged the administration to ensure free and fair elections.”