Copter campaign fails to dazzle all in Assam's panchayat polls

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Guwahati, Jan 3 (UNI) Political parties' 'helicopter campaign' may have dazzled rural voters in Assam's panchayat elections, but not all politicians have taken kindly to this 'extravagant' style.

Former Lok Sabha Speaker and NCP leader PA Sangma said here today that the helicopter glitz in a panchayat election was not indicative of a healthy trend.

He said, ''Panchayat elections are for the grassroots level and should be kept to that level for the benefits of the panchayati raj to percolate to the real benefactors.'' Helicopters, which when used in Assembly and Lok Sabh polls make news, are not the most fitting tools for campaigning for the panchayat election, he added.

The ongoing panchayat election in Assam had seen unprecedented frenzy among the political parties to woo the voters, with the people also equally enthused about the polls.

The Congress has engaged the service of one helicopter for ferrying top leaders, including Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.

Perfume baron Badruddin Ajmal's Asom United Democratic Front has also matched the Congress and engaged a helicopter for campaigning.

Thousands are in the fray for a few hundred seats in Zilla parishads and gaon panchayats.

The first phase was conducted on December 31, the second phase is scheduled for January 4 and the third for January 9, with Darrang district going to polls on January 23.

The postponement of panchayat polls in Rabha-Hasong autonomous council area has evoked violent response and polls were postponed in the entire Goalpara district after eight people were killed in police firing on a mob yesterday.

UNI SG PL DS PM1615

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