The Election Commission on Tuesday announced postponement of polling in the Tripura (East) Lok Sabha seat to the third phase on April 23 from April 18, saying the prevailing law and order situation there is not conducive for holding free and fair polls.
Citing reports of the state chief electoral officer and the special police observer, the poll panel said, “The law and order situation prevailing … is not conducive to the holding of free and fair poll.”
The returning officer had feared that “miscreant elements” may thwart the polling process in the constituency. Based on the ground and intelligence reports, he had requested for additional central police force, it said. “Everyone saw what happened during polling on April 11. I have travelled to different districts and saw videos where activities, which were against the rules of Election Commission of India, were seen,” Tripura Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sriram Taranikanti said.
“We have forwarded those details to the Election Commission. We hope to develop law and order situation conducive for holding the elections on April 23,” he added.
Elections for the first phase were held on April 11, Congress and CPI (M) demanded re-polling in 460 polling stations on the ground of rigging.
Tripura Congress president and royal scion Pradyot Kishore Debburman welcomed the EC’s decision. “Election was blatantly rigged at West Tripura Lok Sabha elections on April 11. Tripura Congress leaders along with All India Congress Committee (AICC) legal team complained to the Election Commission about it. The elections were not free and fair. We welcome the decision of ECI,” Debburman said.