Election Commission declares polls in Tripura West seat void, orders re-polling in 168 polling stations
Re-polling has been ordered in 26 assembly constituencies of Tripura West parliamentary constituencies after the opposition parties alleged booth capturing and violence
The Election Commission of India has ordered re-election in 168 polling stations in 26 assembly constituencies of Tripura West parliamentary constituency after the opposition parties in the state raised allegations of massive booth capturing and violence.
Polling was held on April 11 in West Tripura constituency as part of the first phase of Lok Sabha election 2019.
“… polls taken on 11th April, 2019 (Thursday) at 168 polling stations … to be void and appoints the 12th May, 2019 (Sunday) and fixes the hours from 7 AM to 5 PM for taking a fresh poll …” the poll body said in a statement.
The Tripura West Lok Sabha seat had recorded a voter turnout of 83% when the constituency went to polls on April 11.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) had demanded re-polling in 774 of the 1,679 booths, where voting was held on April 11. The Congress, too, alleged violations by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in several booths, demanding the resignations of S Taranikanti, the state’s chief electoral officer, and director general of police AK Shukla.
“A majority of voters could not exercise their franchise on April 11 and the Election Commission of India should take steps to allow them to enjoy their constitutional rights. We demand that the Election Commission issues instructions for re-polling in these booths. Moreover, if the Commission feels the need to conduct re-polls in the entire West Tripura constituency, we will surely welcome it,” CPI(M) secretary Goutam Das had said.
The CPI(M) also claimed that footage of CCTV cameras installed in the polling booths on April 11 was scrutinised without their presence on April 12 and 13 and demanded scrutiny should be done in the presence of all political parties.
The Congress also brought similar allegations regarding scrutiny of the video footage and demanded that the commission should conduct fresh polls in the constituency.
“Our party delegation met deputy Election Commissioner Sudip Jain and said none of our party representatives was present during the video footage’s scrutiny by the chief electoral officer of Tripura. We believe the report sent by the state election authority was submitted to ECI with the intention of suppressing the real fact of mass rigging. For this, we demand that a fresh poll in the West Tripura constituency should be done,” Congress secretary Rahul Saha had said.
The BJP had accused both the CPI(M) and the Congress of being involved in a conspiracy to defer polling.
The Election Commission had deferred voting in the Tripura East Lok Sabha seat in the third phase to April 23 from April 18, saying the prevailing law-and-order situation was not conducive for holding a free and fair election.