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EC fear keep parties on toes in upper Asom

Written by: Staff
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Moran, Mar 28 (UNI) With elections just a week away, an unusual quiet prevails in Upper Asom, home to lush green tea estates.

Prodding the candidates and local poll officials reveal that fear of drawing the ire of EC has made upper Asom a perfect model for electioneering.

''We are not postering. There is no wall writing. We have only strung flags on small bamboo poles and festoons,'' Pradan Hati Barua, party officials of the AGP near Moran, told UNI.

Everywhere in upper Asom, from Titabor to Tinsukia, electioneering has been unusually low. There are occasional party meetings and small meetings. But the conventional method of robust campaigning through loudspeakers, processions and wall writings are missing.

There is some poll activity in the urban centres but even that too is limited. ''Wherever there is wall writing in public property, we are cleaning it and claiming fine for the work,'' said Shankar Barua, a local level poll official.

The candidates are also concerned. With the EC whip falling on all the offending candidates, no chance has been taken and both electricity and telephone posts are free from postering.

''It has reduced the cost for candidates to a great extent,'' said Prabhat Barua of Jorhat, who used to supply posters. In most of the constituencies, small meetings along with small party offices remained the usual mode of canvassing.

''I have asked my candidates to follow the EC guidelines in toto,'' said Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. His constituency Titabor had the least canvassing.

Most candidates are banking on man-to-man contact style of campaigning. Only in Amguri, the state's most bitterly fought constituency, there is some heat.

UNI MT PL SKM1249

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