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Assam political parties favour polls before mid-April

Source : IANS
Last Updated: Wed, Feb 02, 2011 14:00 hrs

Guwahati, Feb 2 (IANS) Political parties in Assam want the state assembly elections to be held before Bihu, the Assamese New Year in mid-April, and the main opposition Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) has demanded that ballot papers be used instead of the electronic voting machines (EVM).

Major political parties Wednesday held extensive discussions with the full bench of the Central Election Commission, led by Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi, that arrived in Assam's main city of Guwahati on a two-day visit to review poll preparations.

'We have come here to review poll preparedness, and during our stay we shall be holding meetings with political parties, civil and police officials, besides influential groups and teachers,' the chief election commissioner told journalists.

Quraishi is accompanied by Election Commissioners V.S. Sampath and H.S. Brahma.

'We want elections in four phases and have specifically asked the Election Commission team to discard the EVMs and instead use ballots for conducting the polls to avoid tampering of votes,' AGP president Chandra Mohan Patowary said.

Meanwhile, both the ruling Congress party and Assam's main opposition Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) have demanded that elections be held before Bohag Bihu or the Assamese New Year beginning April 14.

Some political parties even sought the confinement of leaders of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), currently out on bail, in designated camps.

'All the ULFA leaders, including chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa, should be confined in designated camps and carrying of arms openly should be restricted so that the ULFA cannot interfere with the poll process,' said Biswajit Daimary, leader of the Bodoland People's Front, an ally of the ruling Congress party in Assam.




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