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Congress tries to ward off Panchayat scars

Written by: Staff

Sibsagar, Mar 27 (UNI) Congress's biggest enemy in rural Asom is neither the BJP nor the AGP but its own Panchayat members.

Despite any apparent anti-incumbency wave, people are angry with the Congress Panchayat members and their performance in last five years.

''Prafulla Mahanta lost the election because he did not hold the Panchayat election while Tarun Gogoi is having a tough time because he had held the last election four years back,'' said Padma Dutta, an employee of the ONGC.

''I do not blame Tarun Gogoi as the Panchayat members have turned out to be Frankenstein now,'' said Dutta.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi also said, ''I held the election as per the Congress manifesto to decentralize power to the grassroots.'' ''The Congress-run Panchayat did not implement all the Central government and the state government projects for rural development projects in time. The decision making process had been in the hands of the grass roots and the Panchayat members and their families became the beneficiaries denying the common people,'' Mr Sankar Hazarika, a local resident, alleged.

Chief Minister's campaign manager Ghana Hazarika admitted that in many constituencies this factor has increased the anti-incumbency factor.

''People do not have grudge against Mr Gogoi or his government.

Even the opposition political parties are not having much issue to take on us. Most of our negative things have come from the Panchayat members,'' the Chief Minister's campaign manager said. This factor is prevalent both in upper and lower Assam.

''The Panchayat members used to ride cycles. Now they use cars.

The transformation is quite rapid. We do understand how that is possible,'' said Mr Umesh Chandra Sharma, an elctorate.

The Congress is working hard to retain some seats in Sibsagar, Nazira, Amguri, Dergaon.


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