GUWAHATI: Apprehending violence, the Election Commission (EC) has postponed polling to the Tripura East seat in Tripura from April 18 to April 23.
Voting in six other constituencies of Northeast, however, will be held as scheduled on April 18. The constituencies are Mangaldoi, Autonomous District (Diphu), Nagaon, Silchar, Karimganj (all in Assam) and Inner Manipur in Manipur.
While saying that the law and order situation prevailing in East Tripura constituency was not “conducive” for the holding of free and fair polls, the EC shunted out Additional Director General of Police, Rajiv Singh, for his alleged failure to thwart some incidents pertaining to law and order in the lead up to the polls.
The Opposition parties in the state have welcomed the EC’s decision to defer the polls to the Tripura East seat. “We welcome this. In fact, we were demanding this. We had also demanded that Central forces be deployed to all polling booths under Tripura East seat,” CPI-M state general secretary Bijan Dhar told this newspaper.
He alleged that a lot of “incidents” had taken place during voting in the Tripura West seat on April 11. “There were altogether 1,679 polling booths in Tripura West seat. We demanded re-polling in 464 of them. The EC will possibly take a call after examining CCTV footages,” he added.
The Congress said it was the first to lodge a complaint with the EC. “We were the first to go to Delhi and file a complaint with the EC. Based on it, the EC directed the state election department to postpone polling to Tripura East seat and ensure free and fair elections,” Tripura Congress president Pradyut Kishore Manikya said.
He was confident that the EC would order re-polling in a large number of polling booths where voting took place in the first phase.
Congress and BJP are the two key players in the six seats that will go to polls on Thursday. In Assam, the contest between the two parties is expected in Mangaldoi, Nagaon, Autonomous District and Silchar seats. It will be a triangular fight among BJP, Congress and minority-based All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) in Karimganj.
Similarly, the Inner Manipur seat braces for a straight contest between Congress and BJP. In the third and last phase polls in the Northeast on April 23, voting will take place in five constituencies such as Guwahati, Barpeta, Dhubri, Kokrajhar (all in Assam) and Tripura East.