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Counting for rural polls begins: Fate of political parties is at stake

Silchar, Feb 14: Counting for the three tier panchayat elections in Barak Valley began from this morning amidst heavy police deployment.
In Cachar, the counting for the panchayat polls that held on February 12 is underway at ISBT (Inter State Bus Terminus) and ISTT (Inter State Truck Terminus). In Karimganj and Hailakandi, the counting for the polls is in process at Karimganj College and Basic Training Centre respectively. The district administration of the three districts has made an elaborate arrangement for counting of ballot papers smoothly amidst tight security to avoid any unpleasant incident.
This time, in all, 82,987 candidates for zilla parishad members, gaon panchayat presidents, anchalik panchayat members and gaon panchayat members are in the fray in Barak Valley. In the district of Hailakandi, 4828 candidates are vying for 11 ZP seats, 62 gaon panchayat presidentship, 62 anchalik panchayat members and 620 Gaon panchayat members. In Karimganj 5586 candidates are contesting for 20 ZP seats, 96 gaon panchayat presidents and equal number of anchalik panchayat members as well as 960 gaon panchayat members. A total of 72,573 candidates are locked in poll battle in the district of Cachar, for the 27 member zilla parishad, 167 for gaon panchayat presidents, 163 for anchalik panchayat members and 1630 for group members, also called gaon panchayat members.
Contestants started arriving at the counting places from early morning well dressed. Some of them, before coming for the counting, went to different temples to pray for their victory. Every one of them seemed confident while entering their respective counting halls. The results of the polls are likely to be declared in a day or two as the ballot papers instead of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were used during all phases of the panchayat polls in the state.
With the passage of time, the counting stations also witnessed the arrival of the leaders of different political parties having their stakes in the polls. The results of the panchayat polls are very crucial for the major political parties like Congress, BJP and AIUDF with an eye on Loksabha Elections, which is scheduled to be held next year. The results would also help the political parties to test the water before the 2014 general elections. It would also be interesting to see whether the domination of the Congres, which is in the vortex of corruptions, would get decimated or would remain the same by forming the zila parishad again.
In the last panchayat election in Cachar in particular, Congress won 18 out of 27 zila parishad seats while BJP and CPI (M) got six and two seats respectively. This time, the political pundits are considering AIUDF as the major threat to the Congress and BJP to reckon with. In Hailakandi, Congress won nine out of eleven zila parishad seats. Out of 20 zila parishad seats in Karimganj, congress got eight, AIUDF and BJP won a single seat each and the rest seven went to the others in the last panchayat polls held in 2008. (Source: SentinelAssam)

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