The Election Commission on Tuesday announced that polling in the Tripura East Lok Sabha seat will be postponed from April 18 to April 23, PTI reported. “The law and order situation prevailing ... is not conducive to the holding of free and fair poll,” the commission said, citing reports of the state chief electoral officer and special police observer.
Tripura Chief Electoral Officer Sriram Taranikanti said the polling was deferred to augment security deployment and patrolling, and to carry out confidence building measures till the new date of polling in the constituency, according to The Hindu.
“I have travelled to different districts and saw videos where activities, which were against the rules of Election Commission of India, were seen,” PTI quoted Taranikanti as saying. “We have forwarded those details to the Election Commission. We hope to develop law and order situation conducive for holding the elections on April 23.”
The returning officer of the constituency has also requested for additional central police force based on ground and intelligence reports.
Tripura Congress President Pradyot Kishore welcomed the Election Commission’s decision. “There is admittance at some level that polls in Tripura on April 11 wasn’t free and fair as claimed by the BJP government in the state,” Kishore said, according to ANI. He claimed the polling for West Tripura Lok Sabha seat was “blatantly rigged” on April 11, reported PTI.
According to The Indian Express, supporters of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in the state received death threats. Swadesh Debnath, a resident of Jambura village, told the daily that found a handwritten note and the severed head of a chicken on the gate. The note read: “If you go to vote on April 18, you will face the same fate.”
Khowai legislator and CPI(M) leader Nirmal Biswas claimed the notes were written by Bharatiya Janata Party workers to supporters of the Left Front. Assistant Inspector General Subrata Chakraborty denied reports of threats. “We don’t have any such reports till now,” he said.
Re-polling in Manipur
The Election Commission of India on Tuesday also declared the elections conducted in 19 polling stations in Outer Manipur parliamentary constituency as void and notified that fresh polls will be held in the same booths on April 18 from 7 am to 4 pm, Imphal Free Press reported.
The returning officer of the constituency had submitted a report to the Election Commission citing damage to electronic voting machines, voting being conducted at a non-designated location at Najang village, votes being cast more than the number of electors, and multiple votes being cast by one person.