The Election Commission on January 21 assured a CPI(M)-Congress delegation that all possible steps will be taken for conducting free, fair and peaceful polling in Tripura.
The assurance was given to a nine-member team of the CPI(M) and the Congress when the delegation met the state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Gitte Kirankumar Dinakarrao . Elections to the 60-member Assembly will be held on February 16.
The delegation comprising Jitendra Choudhury, CPI(M) state secretary, and Sudip Roy Barman, Congress MLA, highlighted the alleged violence and the peoples' inability to cast their votes in elections in the past five years.
“Today we submitted a representation to the CEO urging him to ensure people's democratic rights in the light of previous elections' experience. All of you know that electors could not cast their votes in the past five years - be it Panchayat or Lok Sabha or by-election”, Choudhury said.
The CPI(M) state secretary said the CEO has assured the delegation that the poll panel has already initiated a probe into the Majlishpur incident and none will be spared. The Congress has claimed that 15 party workers and functionaries, including AICC general secretary Ajay Kumar, were injured after a group of “BJP-backed goons” allegedly attacked them during a bike rally at four locations in Jirania sub-division in Majlishpur Assembly constituency on Wednesday.
The police, however, said the attacks were carried out by unknown miscreants in West Tripura district, and “10 party workers were injured”. The Election Commission on Thursday ordered an inquiry into the attacks on the Congress bike rally. “We told the CEO the people will be on the streets if the EC fails to conduct free, fair and peaceful polling. We do believe the Commission will take steps so that people can cast their votes according to their will”, he said.
Claiming that democracy will be “under threat” if people were not allowed to vote freely in the election, Roy Barman said they submitted the representation to the CEO on behalf of 40 lakh people of the state.
“We apprised him of the possible ploy to rig the election process- threat, intimidation and escalating tension among the voters. He promised to take all possible measures so that electors can exercise their democratic right this time”, he said. Earlier, hundreds of people holding national flags staged a rally in the city advocating for 'my right my vote' to restore democracy. Former chief minister Manik Sarkar, AICC general secretary Ajay Kumar and TPCC president Birajit Sinha also joined the rally.
Reacting to the CPI(M)- Congress rally for restoration of democracy, BJP chief spokesperson Subrata Chakraborty alleged the opposition parties were trying to prepare a blueprint to destabilise the atmosphere ahead of the Assembly elections.
“Those who had blamed each other for killing, abduction, rapes and arson for the past several years are now coming together to gain political mileage. Where is the commitment to the people who had been the victims of Communist terror over the past 25 years”, he said.
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