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Weather plays spoilsport in Asom polls

Written by: Staff
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Biswanath Chariali, Apr 7 (UNI) Inclement weather is playing spoilsport in the second phase of Asom election process as it is severely hampering electioneering and political parties fear that if the rain persists on the polling day, voting will be less than expected.

The weather office has predicted rain on all days till Monday, the day the second and last phase of voting will take place, although the intensity will recede with each passing day.

But it has already taken its toll. The Election Commission (EC) has had to hire boats to ensure that polling parties reach on time to the polling stations, which are located in the char (riverine island) areas.

EC sources confirmed that heavy rains in the past few days have forced them to take extra measures, especially in the riverine areas, as the rivers are in spate now and many areas, which do not usually need a boat, can be accessible through boat only.

The problem is more acute in lower Asom as bulk of polling stations are in the flood-prone plains. There are nearly 30 per cent polling stations in the riverine areas, which have made life even more miserable for the Election officials as most of the polling parties would start leaving for the booths by tomorrow.

Besides the election officials, the political parties are also facing the heat.

''I still think the old warhorse ambassador car is the best medium of transportation during electioneering,'' said AGP president Brindabon Goswami, whose party has hired a helicopter but is facing daily problems with weather.

So is the case with the Asom United Democratic Front (AUDF).

Their president Badaruddin Ajmal has mastered the art of delivering speech through his mobile if he cannot reach out to a scheduled campaign meeting because of the weather.

The Congress and BJP, which are also using helicopters, are facing a similar problem.''We are rescheduling meetings constantly,'' said campaign manager Mehdi Alam Bora.

The sporadic rain has brought down the temperature making campaigning rather pleasant. Political parties and their leader are attending on an average six meetings each day during the stipulated time.

''We are facing losses,'' said Mr Goswami admitting that he would not be able to reach out to some areas of the state because of rain.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi is in a jovial mood. ''We are lucky.

By the time the rain started the election process was over in our areas (Phase-I). Now God is not so kind with all of us,'' he said.

UNI MT PL RL DS1530

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