Tripura Assembly polls: CPM alleges electoral law violation, asks EC for 'thorough probe'

The CPM on Tuesday demanded that the Election Commission order a 'thorough probe' into the alleged violations of electoral law during the Tripura polls on Sunday, as also count of VVPAT slips in 13 constituencies.

IANS February 20, 2018 22:09:15 IST
Tripura Assembly polls: CPM alleges electoral law violation, asks EC for 'thorough probe'

New Delhi: The CPM on Tuesday demanded that the Election Commission order a "thorough probe" into the alleged violations of electoral law during the Tripura polls on Sunday, as also count of VVPAT slips in 13 constituencies.

Senior Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) leader Nilotpal Basu met Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat and pointed out various "irregularities" in the conduct of state Assembly polls and called them a clear violation of the Representation of People Act, 1951.

Tripura Assembly polls CPM alleges electoral law violation asks EC for thorough probe

Representational image. Reuters

Basu also handed over the CEC a letter written by party's state unit head Bijan Dhar to the poll panel, wherein the latter has detailed all the anomalies.

In the letter, the CPM has pointed out that on 17 February, the eve of the polling day, "some engineers, according to the state election authority, ECL engineers, opened up all the ballot units of Panisagar constituency, 12 ballot units of Dharmanagar and three of Jubarajnagar constituencies in the absence of any political party representatives".

The party said that this has created "mystery" because after setting up of candidates' names in the ballot unit in the Returning Officer's office, no one has the authority to open the machines.

"It is still a mystery what did the engineers do to the machines. Such opening up of machines was not required in any of the assembly segments," it said.

Polling in Tripura, where the CPM has been ruling uninterrupted since 1993, was held on Sunday. The votes will be counted on 3 March.

The party has demanded counting of voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) slips to be counted in Panisagar, Simna, Dharmanagar, Takarjala, Radhakishorepur, Matarbari, Bagma, Asharambari, Mohanpur, Banamalipur, Mandaibazar, Surjamaninagar and Dhanpur Assembly constituencies.

Alleging that the CPM's symbol on EVMs was kept covered in two booths "for a considerable time" and in one polling booth its polling agent was "forcibly driven out", the party has also demanded re-polling in booth 5, Ratanpur High School (Uttarangsha), booth 6, Ratanpur High School (Dakshinangsha) and booth 37, Kupilong JB School (Paschimanganga).

The letter further said that in spite of the direction from the Election Commission, "outsiders, mostly from Assam, West Bengal and from some Hindi-speaking states stayed in Tripura on the poll day".

"Most of them were housed in various hotels, guest houses and houses of BJP leaders and workers. One Pallav Lochan Das, a minister in Assam, was found hiding in a house at a remote village of Gandachhara on 17 February night," it said.

It said that a BJP advertisement with "false content" maligning the Left Front government were cleared by the district level Media Certification and Monitoring Committee (MCMC) "even on 17 and 18 February.

"In one such advertisement certified by the MCMC, the BJP informed that they would keep watch over 3,000 polling booths through their own camera."

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