Assam polls: PM couldn't vote
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Assam polls: PM couldn't vote

The first phase of polling for 65 of the 126 constituencies passed off peacefully. Assembly polls in pics

india Updated: Apr 04, 2006 15:15 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's failure to exercise his franchise at a polling station under Dispur assembly, where he is registered as a voter, has evoked mixed reactions among co-voters.

"The Prime Minister was in Guwahati on Sunday and the day before asking people to vote, but he himself is not here to cast his ballot," people at polling station number 155 told reporters, pointing to Singh's name in the list.

"He should have been here. He is a voter from this constituency. Did he get his name included in the voter list here only to get himself elected to the Rajya Sabha?" asked voter Babul Das.

"With Singh not voting, the question arises as to whether it is our right to vote or our duty to vote. It seems it is only common people's duty to vote and not of Prime Minister's," said Aruna Kalita, who had braved the rains to cast her vote.

Others were more sympathetic to the Prime Minister.

"Maybe he has other programmes to attend to and, therefore, could not make it here," Hamen Sarma said.

Voter Charan Medhi said, "The Prime Minister is a busy person. He cannot be expected to stay back ignoring his important work for the nation to cast his vote in Guwahati. He may not be physically present but his heart is with Assam".

Election office sources in Guwahati said that the Prime Minister, elected to the Rajya Sabha from Assam in 1991, had cast his vote only in the 1998 Lok Sabha elections but did not vote in the 1991, 1996 and 2001 assembly polls.

First Published: Apr 03, 2006 16:59 IST