File photo: Himanta Biswa Sarma

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has proposed symbol-less election to panchayats and municipalities.

Sarma, also a senior BJP leader, said the polls to gram panchayats and urban civic bodies in Assam would be held soon.

“There is less time for holding symbol-less elections this time. I wanted this election to be held without a party’s symbol. If we can hold the elections without parties’ symbols like Gujarat and Maharashtra, let there be a debate on this. To hold the symbol-less elections to the panchayats and and other civic bodies, necessary amendments in the Act are required and discussion with various parties are necessary,” the chief minister told the media on February 7.

CM Himanta Biswa Sarma added that like other states, Assam has a system where parties nominate their candidates for the gram panchayats and urban civic body elections.

“There are many people who want to contest these local body polls. However, these intending candidates do not want to get attached with any party to contest these polls,” the chief minister said.

He added that 762 personal security officers (PSO), who were attached to various personalities, including politicians and various other persons, in the state have been withdrawn leading to huge saving of money from the government exchequer.

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Earlier this year, Sarma, who also holds the home portfolio, had made an appeal to give up the PSO culture.

A total of nearly 2,000 PSOs are expected to be withdrawn in the coming days and it would help us in getting two new battalions and utilise them for providing security to the people, he said.

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