Polling for the second phase of Lok Sabha elections in East Tripura (ST reserved) constituency has been deferred from April 18 to April 23 on security grounds, Tripura Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sriram Taranikanti stated Tuesday. The Election Commission also urged the authorities to improve the law and order situation in the state.
Speaking to reporters in a late-night briefing, CEO Taranikanti said the Election Commission has deferred polling at East Tripura constituency in the second phase of Lok Sabha elections on security grounds. The voting would now be held on April 23, and the state electoral authority has been instructed to ensure proper security conditions to build confidence among the voters.
“Everyone saw what happened during polling on April 11. I have travelled different districts. I have seen videos where activities were seen which were against the rules of Election Commission of India. We have forwarded those details to the Election Commission as well. We hope to develop law and order situation conducive for holding the elections April 23,” the CEO added.
Meanwhile, a notification from the Election Commission of India said reports received from Tripura CEO and Special Police Observer indicated law and order situation prevailing in East Tripura Parliamentary constituency is “not conducive” to hold free and fair poll in the constituency on April 18.
The notification informed that Special Police Observer from Tripura has recommended deferring the poll which was earlier scheduled to be helfd on the April 18.
“The Election Commission, having considered the reports from the CEO, Special Police Observer and reports of the Returning Officer and also taking into account inputs received from various sources decided that the poll scheduled to be taken on 18th April, 2019 in 2-Tripura East (ST) Parliamentary constituency may be deferred that it shall be taken on 23rd April, 2019 by which time with the additional measures taken the Commission expects the law and order situation in the constituency to improve and become conducive for holding free and fair election”, the notification reads.
An hour after the Election Commission of India deferred Lok Sabha polls at East Tripura seat to April 23 citing security reasons, a late night order from the Election Commission on Tuesday transferred Additional Director General (Law & Order) of Tripura Police Rajiv Singh due to incidents of law and failure under his command which were reported to the Commission in the run-up to Lok Sabha elections in Tripura.
Tripura Congress president Pradyot Kishore Debburman welcomed the Election Commission decision and said his party had previously complained with ECI on several accounts about alleged violence, rigging in the first phase of Lok Sabha elections in West Tripura seat on April 11.
“Mass rigging was held at West Tripura Lok Sabha elections on April 11. Tripura Congress leaders along with All India Congress Committee (AICC) legal team complained with the Election Commission about it. The elections were not free and fair. Tripura Congress welcomes the ECI decision to defer the polling on security grounds,” Pradyot said.
He also said that a section of Tripura government officials were directly involved in giving a cakewalk to miscreants who conducted largescale rigging and violated law and order on poll day on April 11.
The Congress party earlier accused BJP supporters of holding extensive rigging, booth jamming and other illegal activities in the first phase of polls in the state.
Tripura has got two Lok Sabha seats – West Tripura and East Tripura constituency. While the first seat went on polls on April 11, Congress and CPI (M) demanded re-polling in 460 odd polling stations where alleged poll rigging was held.