Excited about voting in Assam: PM

Sushanta Talukdar

Guwahati: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday expressed confidence that there would be a Congress-led government at the Centre after the elections.

“The Congress in Assam will win a thumping majority and there will be a Congress-led government at the Centre.”

Dr. Singh was talking to journalists after casting his vote in a booth at the Dispur Government Higher Secondary School at Sarumotoria here that comes under the Guwahati Lok Sabha constituency.

He, however, declined to make any comment to a query whether the Congress would take Left support or extend support to the Left for government formation.

This is the first time Dr. Singh is casting his vote in Assam. He could not do so in the 2004 Lok Sabha polls and the 2006 Assembly elections.

A member of the Rajya Sabha from this State, Dr. Singh has a rented house close to the polling station. It is owned by Hemoprova Saikia, former Assam Minister and wife of the former Chief Minister, the late Hiteswar Saikia.

After their arrival at 11.35 a.m. Dr. Singh and his wife, Gursharan Kaur, stood in a short queue to exercise their franchise. “I am really excited to be back home and cast my vote. It is the duty of all Indians to exercise their franchise with enthusiasm,” he said.

Asked if he was feeling tense after the second phase of polling, the Prime Minister said he was not at all feeling tense about the polling, and exuded confidence that the performance of the Congress and the United Progressive Alliance would be good.

His wife said it was “a great feeling” for her to cast her vote here.

Bipul Kumar Saikia, a scientist at the Centre of Plasma Physics, who was just ahead of Dr. Singh in the queue, said the Prime Minister interacted with him and other voters inside the polling station and greeted everyone.

A three-tier security check was in place right from G.S. Road to the polling station. All voters were asked to pass through a door-frame metal detector and also frisked by security personnel.

The Congress candidate in constituency Robin Bordoloi, who arrived at the booth after the Prime Minister left, said: “I am feeling great as perhaps I am the first candidate for whom the Prime Minister has come to cast his vote. I am feeling very proud.” His opponent is Bijoya Chakraborty of the BJP.

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