Tripura Village Committee Polls: EC kickstarts preparations amid squabble between BJP, Opposition

Tripura Village Committee Polls: EC kickstarts preparations amid squabble between BJP, Opposition

Election Commission kickstarts preparations for Tripura Village Committee Polls amid squabble between BJP and the Opposition

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After the Tripura High Court’s order to the State Election Commission (SEC) asking to complete the polling process in Village Committees (VC) under the Tribal Council by the first week of November, it kickstarted preparations to publish electoral rolls for conducting the poll on August 2.

Although the 5-year tenure of 587 village committees under the Tripura Tribal Autonomous District Council (TTADC) ended on March 7 of 2021, elections have surprisingly been delayed by more than a year.

Opposition parties CPI(M), Congress, and TIPRA Motha have slammed the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the delay in the polls, urging the election body to expedite the process. 

Opposition leaders have alleged that the ruling party has asked the state election commission to defer the polls.

The BJP, however, denies these allegations and says ‘the state election commission is an autonomous body.’
According to the opposition, the BJP has tried to avoid elections to the village committees due to its dwindling popularity in the tribal-inhabited hills. In 2021, the TIPRA Motha party under the leadership of Pradyot Kishore Deb Barman sprung a surprise by sweeping the polls in the TTADC, hinting at a drop in the BJP-IPFT coalition’s popularity.

"Because of this, the ground activities and implementation of developmental schemes in the TTAADC are getting hampered," said a source.

"When urban body and by-elections can be held in Tripura, why VC polls are not being held? After losing the TTAADC, the ruling alliance is scared of another defeat and is, therefore, trying to delay the polls," he added.
The BJP, however, claims it has performed well in the TTAADC polls but lost due to its tribal ally IPFT’s ‘poor performance.’

P Bhattacharjee, secretary of the Commission, issuing a notice said, "the State Election Commission is in the process of making all preparations for the conduct of general election to the Village Committees, all the Block Development Officers (BDOs) of TTAADC areas are already appointed as Electoral Registration Officers (EROs), who is responsible for preparation of electoral rolls of Village Committees under their respective jurisdiction in accordance to the provision of Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Village Committee (Preparation of Electoral Roll) Rules, 1906 for the conduct of the said election."

The notice also enclosed the guidelines for publication of electoral rolls, besides setting up polling stations, and asked the concerned BDOs to collect copies of the Assembly Electoral Rolls of their concerned constituencies from the office of the respective SDMs for 'segregation.'