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State goes to civic polls today

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Feb 8 � The State will go to the municipal polls tomorrow for electing public representatives to the 74 municipal boards and town committees � the break-up being 32 municipal boards and 42 town committees.

The elections will be held across 1,748 voting centres which are set to witness the battle of ballots amongst a total of 2,901 candidates from political parties as well as independent candidates. The total number of electorate is 14,84,896, the break-up being 7,62,302 male and 7,22,194 female voters. This marks an increase of 12.06 per cent over the 2009 municipal election.

State Election Commissioner HN Bora said that preparations for the polls have been completed together with adequate security for the exercise. He added that the Deputy Commissioners and the Superintendents of Police have been entrusted with the task of making arrangements for smooth and peaceful conduct of the poll.

Of the 746 wards, 32 are reserved for ST candidates, seven for SC and 367 for women contestants.

Repoll, if necessary, will be held on February 11. The counting of votes will be done on February 12.

A total of 10,000 government employees and officials have been engaged for ensuring smooth conduct of the urban body polls.

The urban civic polls have assumed a lot of significance in the State in view of the forthcoming Assembly polls next year. Political observers are of the view that the results of the polls will give a strong indication of the party leaning of the urban voters ahead of the Assembly elections.

The last urban body polls in 2009 were swept by the Congress which emerged victorious in 400-plus wards, with the AGP and the BJP finishing a distant second and third respectively.

However, according to political observers, the Congress is likely to have a tough time this time, given its dwindling electoral fortunes in the last Lok Sabha polls. Poor governance and infighting have disillusioned many voters with the party. The BJP and the AIUDF, which performed creditably in the Lok Sabha elections, would strive to further consolidate their position amongst the urban voters.

The BJP�s performance, however, could be adversely affected by the faux pass made in its Vision Document for the Delhi Assembly polls where the north-easterners were labelled as �immigrants�. As for the AGP, the polls will be a crucial test for the once-regional powerhouse which has seen its political fortunes plummet drastically in the past one decade.

Elections to the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) and the Barpeta Municipal Board, however, will not be conducted now as their five-year terms have not yet expired.

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