JORHAT, Nov 20 - The Majuli district administration has urged political parties and organisers of Raas festival not to use the platform of Raas to campaign for the ensuing panchayat polls. The festival will be held from November 22 to 25.
Majuli bursts into festivity on Raas every year since the festival began 177 years ago at the Satras. Plays, depicting different stages of Lord Krishna’s life, are performed at night and continue till dawn.
During Raas, thousands of visitors from across the State, other parts of the country and from abroad throng Majuli, which was upgraded into a district from a civil subdivision of Jorhat on September 8 in 2016.
Majuli Deputy Commissioner Debaprasad Misra told The Assam Tribune on Monday that since the Model Code of Conduct for the Panchayat elections was in force, political parties and Raas organisers have been asked not to use the festival platform for campaigning.
Misra said that recently he had held meetings with representatives of all political parties, festival organisers and government officials on adhering to the Model Code of Conduct and about making necessary arrangements for the festival.
The Deputy Commissioner said there should not be any attempt directly or indirectly to use the festival premises for campaigning for the polls by way of putting up posters, banners or by speeches.
He said the representatives were asked to inform leaders and workers not to speak about the polls if they attended any Raas function.
Misra said that the administration will keep a close watch on the festival venues through the Model Code of Conduct Cell of the administration, headed by Additional Deputy Commissioner Noren Das. Action will be taken if the poll code was violated, he added.
Misra said he had reviewed arrangements for Raas with officials of several government departments so that locals and those from outside do not face any problem.
Elections will be held in 20 gaon panchayats, two anchalik panchayats and four zila parishads.
He said the Inland Water Transport department has been directed to increase the frequency of ferry services between Neematighat (Jorhat) and the ghats in Majuli and also on the Majuli-Lakhimpur route.
The IWT has also been directed to see that passengers were not overcharged. He said that the fare rates have to be put up on big boards on the ghats.
Safety and security measures have also been reviewed with police and fire brigade officials, the Deputy Commissioner added.
The Deputy Commissioner said that the administration, anticipating large numbers of visitors to the island during those days, will put up tents at Majuli College Field at Doria Ghat to accommodate 500 people without charging any fee. Temporary toilets and water supply will be made available in the camp.
Raas will be performed in over 65 places across the island, including outside the Satras.