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Local body polls in NE India put off indefinitely
TIWN March 27, 2020
Local body polls in NE India put off indefinitely

Agartala/Guwahati, March 27 (TIWN) Various polls to the autonomous and local bodies in several northeastern region have been postponed indefinitely due to the situation arising out of the nationwide lockdown to check the spread of novel coronavirus, officials said on Friday.

According to the officials, the politically important elections to the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC), Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) in western Assam and municipal and panchayat elections in Arunachal Pradesh have been put on hold for indefinite period.

In Agartala, the Tribal Welfare Department in a notification on Thursday night postponed the elections to the TTAADC. "The term of the CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist)-led TTAADC would expire on May 17 and the elections are expected to be held in April end or early May," the Chief Executive Member of the TTAADC Radhacharan Debbarma told IANS.

He said as per the provisions of the 6th schedule of the Indian constitution, the existing authority with the approval of the governor can remain in office for one year in emergency situation.

TTAADC has jurisdiction over two-thirds of Tripura''s 10,491 sq km area, home to over 12,16,000 people, mostly tribals.

In Assam, on the recommendations of the state government, the State Election Commission put off the 40-member BTC polls, scheduled to be held on April 4. Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi, who is the constitutional head of the Sixth Schedule areas like that of BTC, had also earlier suggested postponement of the council polls.

The politically important BTC comprises four districts of western Assam -- Kokrajhar, Baksa, Chirang and Udalguri.

In Arunachal Pradesh, on the advice of the state Health Department, the State Election Commission has postponed the polling to the three-tier panchayats, along with the elections to the Itanagar and Pasighat municipal councils, which are due since May, 2018.

The State Election Commissioner Hage Kojeen said that the commission had announced that the elections would be held in April-May this year but the dates were not finalised.

"Conducting of elections would involve a large number of public gatherings in different parts of the state, campaigns and rallies at various locations. These could be detrimental for the public health due to the possible spread of novel coronavirus," the Election Commissioner clarified.

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