GUWAHATI, April 25 � The wait of the candidates of the elections to the Assam Legislative Assembly to know the results for more than a month after the elections is reminding them of their days of appearing in the High School Leaving Certificate (HSLC) Examinations, while, only for those who are confident of winning, the month provided a �deserving break� from hectic schedules.
The elections in Assam were held in two phases on April 4 and 11 and the counting of votes will take place only on May 13. The speculations by the political parties and media about the possible results have only added to the tension of the candidates, who are not absolutely confident of winning.
Moreover, the State administration is virtually crippled for a long time, while, the educational atmosphere has also been affected as a number of schools and colleges have been used as strong rooms to store the electronic voting machines (EVMS).
Apurba Kumar Bhattacharya of the AGP, who contested from Dhekiajuli constituency admitted that the tension is growing with every passing day and the long and tense wait to know the verdict of the people has reminded him of the days when he had appeared in the HSLC Examinations.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Bhattacharya said, � the wait is similar to that of the three-month wait to know the results of the HSLC examinations. The day the HSLC Examinations were completed, we went to enjoy a movie and from the next day, the teachers and parents started scrutinizing our question papers to assess how we were likely to fare in the examinations, which added to the tension. The wait for election results is similar as the media and the parties have started speculating the results.�
Bhattacharya said that the Election Commission (EC) should devise a mechanism to reduce the gap between elections and counting of votes and it is unlikely that elections in one state would affect the results in other states. For example, the political situation in Assam is completely different from that in West Bengal and the long delay also creates possibility of horse trading. He said that the students were also affected as the schools and colleges were used as strong rooms.
Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that he was tense in 2006 but it is not the case for him this time as he is confident of his victory from Jalukbari constituency. Sarma said that he is using the gap between election and counting to devote time to his family and is travelling to various parts of the country and even abroad on holiday with family members. �I hardly got any chance to take rest and give time to the family in the last five years and I am taking advantage of the situation. I am also visiting relatives and spending time browsing the internet and managed to re-establish contacts with old college friends,� he added.
Sarma admitted that the state administration has been crippled since the day the dates for the elections were announced, but at the same time, he said that the EC had to do a balancing act to ensure free and fair polls in all the states. He, however, said that efforts should be made not to use the educational institutions as strong rooms. The Rajiv Gandhi sports complex is being used as a strong room for Kamrup Rural district and the Deputy Commissioners of the other districts can look for such buildings, which can be used as strong rooms with little renovations.
Urkhau Gwra Brahma of the Bodoland People�s Progressive Front (BPPF) admitted that the long wait reminded him of his student days when they had to wait for months to know the results. However, he said that he had faced similar tension as a candidate for the Lok Sabha polls in 2009. �For the first time in more than two decades, the polling in Kokrajhar passed of peacefully and I am eager to know for whom the people voted,� he added.
Brahma said that a mechanism should be evolved to reduce the gap between election and counting to avoid unnecessary debate and tension, not only among the candidates but also among the people. He also said that the Election Commission and Government should avoid using the educational institutions as strong rooms and efforts should be made to construct strong rooms along with the offices of the Deputy Commissioners and Sub-divisional officers.