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Tuesday 21 January 2020

Re-poll in 168 booths of West Tripura on 12 May

The main opposition in Tripura, the CPI(M), has filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking fresh election in the entire West Tripura Lok Sabha constituency

New Delhi: The main opposition in Tripura, the CPI(M), has filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking fresh election in entire West Tripura after the Election Commission ordered repoll in 168 out of the 1,679 polling stations of the entire Lok Sabha constituency.

The Congress in the BJP-ruled State said it would move the apex court on Thursday with a similar prayer.

Chief electoral officer (CEO) Sriram Taranikanti said re-election in 168 polling stations across 26 of the 30 Assembly segments under the West Tripura Lok Sabha constituency will be held on 12 May.

Polling in the constituency was held on 11 April and the CPI(M) and the Congress had demanded repoll in the entire constituency, alleging large-scale rigging by the BJP.

“We had demanded fresh elections in West Tripura as most of the people could not vote due to rigging and violence by BJP cadres. Voters are frustrated with the EC’s decision to hold repoll only in a few polling stations. We have filed a petition in the Supreme Court today seeking fresh election in the entire constituency,” Left Front chairman Bijan Dhar said.

CPI(M)’s West Tripura candidate Shankar Prasad Dutta filed the petition challenging the EC’ decision of repolling only in 168 seats, Dhar said at a press conference.

State Congress president Pradyot Kishore Deb Burman said his party had prepared a draft petition and will file the case in the Supreme Court on Thursday.

“The returning officer of West Tripura in his report had said voting was vitiated in 433 polling stations. Our petition will question how the EC overruled the RO’s report and settled for repoll in 168 polling stations only,” Deb Burman told reporters.

Tripura BJP spokesperson Ashok Sinha said, “The EC is the judge and they have every right to declare re-polling.”

In his appeal to the parties and poll workers, State CEO Taranikanti said everyone should demonstrate during repolling on May 12 that “we can do it in a nice and positive environment.”

The EC had last week removed West Tripura District Magistrate Sandeep Namdeo Mahatme, who was also the Returning Officer of West Tripura Lok Sabha seat.

Mahatme was replaced by East Tripura RO and District Magistrate of Dhalai, Vikash Singh.

After allegations of rigging in West Tripura were raised, the EC had postponed voting in East Tripura, the other Lok Sabha seat in the State, to the third phase on 23 April from 18 April, saying the prevailing law-and-order situation there is not conducive for holding free and fair poll.

Special election observer Vinod Zutshi had come here late last month and examined footages recorded in webcams in the booths of West Tripura and other documents. He later submitted his report to the EC.

For more election-related news, visit this page.

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