Prime Minister did not cast vote


Guwahati, April 11(NNN): Assam`s final phase assembly polls concluded today with an estimated 70% of 9,677,113 voters turning out to elect their representatives.
However, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh failed to turn out to excercise his franchise, a bad precedent.
Mentionably, Dr Manmohan Singh – a Rajya Sabha MP from Assam – and his wife Gursharan Kaur are the 720th and 721st voters in polling centre number 156 of Assam’s Dispur assembly constituency.
During the ensuing electioneering, Dr Manmohan Singh had come to Assam three or four times to campaign for the Congress but he did not turn up to cast his own at the polling centre at Dispur Higher Secondary School on Monday. Neither did his wife.
K Balaji, the returning officer of Kamrup (Metro) district said no application was received from  Dr Manmohan Singh seeking postal ballots to cast vote under Clause 20 (4) of The Representation of The People Act. This clause has a postal provision for special category people like the President and PM, as in case of officials on poll-duty or security personnel. “There was no request from the PM within the stipulated time, so there’s no question of his exercising postal ballot,” Balaji said. Manmohan Singh has been representing Assam in the Upper House since October 1991. Former chief minister Hiteswar Saikia made him his ‘tenant’ and had him registered as a voter overnight to facilitate his nomination. Dr Manmohan Singh  has been dutifully paying a nominal rent to Saikia’s widow Hemoprova Saikia for a duplex at Nandan Nagar in Guwahati’s Sarumataria area. Most of his ‘neighbours’ believe Singh is too busy with ‘national duty’ to come all the way from New Delhi to cast his vote.
But the Opposition parties have not spared him for ‘giving democracy the thumbs down’. Said Asom Gana Parishad leader Lachit Bordoloi: “He cast his vote during the Lok Sabha polls in 2009 but skipped th2006 assembly election like this time. Does he vote only when he has a stake? If as the PM he doesn’t cast his vote, his faith in democracy is questionable.”
BJP spokesman and candidate from Jalukbari seat Pradyut Bora went a step further. “His Rajya Sabha membership is based on a lie  that he is a natural resident of Assam. Hence his prime ministership is also based on a lie,” the BJP leader said.


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