Dhubri, Jan. 29: The Rabha Hasong Joint Movement Forum appealed to the voters in the Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council area not to vote in the panchayat poll, scheduled to be held on February 12.
The forum said the panchayat election in the council area was proving to be a farce as the BJP, supporting the Rabha cause, did not field its candidates while most of the AGP candidates had withdrawn their nominations.
Activists of the forum were today lathicharged at Macri near Goalpara railway station where they had stopped the Chilarai passenger train.
Two major political parties were out of the fray and only the Congress and some Independent candidates were contesting in an area where a majority are opposing the polls, the forum said.
The Goalpara and Kamrup district units of the BJP, which did not field any candidate, extended unflinching support to the Rabha Hasong movement.
The president of the Goalpara unit of the BJP, Himadri Das, said, "We extended support to the ongoing Rabha movement and demanded council election first then the panchayat election. Now only the Congress and a few other candidates are in the fray. This hardly represents grassroots democracy."
The AGP, which first fielded its candidates in the area, however, later withdrew from the fray.
The president of the Goalpara unit of the AGP, Jiten Das, said they had issued directions to all the candidates who had filed nominations to take their own decision whether to contest or withdraw.
"It is a matter of sentiment for a candidate. However, most of the candidates withdrew showing support to the Rabha Hasong movement," Das said.
The secretary of the district unit of the AIUDF, Abdul Hai, claimed to have fielded 80 to 85 per cent candidates and hoped there would be peaceful elections if the government provides tight security.
"We could not field candidates in some seats," Hai said.
However, the All-Rabha Students Union's vice-president Jiban Rabha said only the Congress and some candidates filed their nomination.
He deemed this detrimental to democracy as 98 per cent people were opposing the polls.
Rabha appealed to the voters not to cast their votes and refrain from all electioneering work, which was nothing but a farcical exercise.
"We do not find any reason for holding a panchayat election where people are opposing it vehemently," Rabha said.