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Friday, December 3, 2021

Hours before civic polls, Tripura CPM leader sends SOS message to Supreme Court

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AGARTALA: Hours before people in the state’s urban areas vote for new municipal bodies, Tripura’s Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Jitendra Chaudhary on Wednesday rushed to the Supreme Court to seek its intervention to ensure free and fair civic body elections, CPM leaders said late on Wednesday.

Chaudhary also sent a letter to Tripura police chief VS Yadav, alleging that a large number of “outsiders” and “miscreants” have entered areas that are going to vote on Thursday in a continuing effort to terrorise opposition candidates and their supporters.

“ …large number of miscreants are intruding into those areas at the behest of ruling BJP and indulging into terrorising the houses of the opposition supporters with dire consequences, with the threat not to move to the polling stations tomorrow on 25th November 2021,” Chaudhury said in his letter to DGP Yadav.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court rejected the Trinamool Congress request to defer the civic body polls but told the police to submit within two days an action-taken report on incidents of violence in the state ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP.

“While we are not inclined to accede to the prayer for postponing polls, we are equally of the view that it is the duty of the director-general of police (DGP), the inspector general of police (IGP – law and order) and the home secretary of the state of Tripura to assuage any misgivings about the fairness of the law enforcement machinery in supporting the electoral process,” a bench of justices Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud and Vikram Nath ruled on Tuesday.

In a statement soon after the court ruling, the Tripura police listed the additional steps that were being taken.

Opposition parties, however, insist that the police action has fallen short.

“There is no reflection of improved law and order in the state even after the Supreme Court directed to ensure a peaceful and fair election,” Trinamool Congress convener Subal Bhowmik told reporters.

BJP spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharya said, “The state has complied with the Supreme Court order and accordingly, proper security arrangement was made. The opposition is making baseless allegations”.

The ruling BJP has won 112 seats uncontested out of a total of 334 seats on which elections were to be held. Voting for the remaining 222 local urban body seats will begin from 7am across 644 polling stations. There are 785 candidates in the fray, and over 5.94 lakh people are entitled to vote.

Of the total of 644 polling stations, 370 have been identified as ‘ A’ category where four Tripura State Rifles personnel will be deployed. In the remaining 274 ‘B’ category polling stations, four armed police personnel would be stationed.

Additionally, two sections of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) are deployed at strong room and government press. All returning officers and observers were provided personal security officers.

“After the directions of Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, additional 15 sections of CRPF are also being provided for the Agartala municipal elections and outside,” said a statement from the assistant inspector general of police on Tuesday.

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