AGARTALA, April 17 - In a significant move, the Election Commission (EC) has deferred polling for East Tripura Parliamentary constituency, which was scheduled for April 18 on security grounds. Now, the constituency will go for polling on April 23.
In a notification, the ECI has said the decision to defer the polling was taken following reports from Chief Electoral Officer Sriram Tarinikanta and Special Police Observer MK Das.
Reports have been received from the CEO, Tripura and the Special Police Observer, Tripura that law and order situation prevailing in East Tripura constituency is not conducive to the holding of free and fair poll on April 18 , an official notification of EC said on Tuesday night.
The Special Police Observer has in his reports further recommended that the poll scheduled to be taken on April 18 may be deferred considering the volatile situation on the ground.
“Having considered their reports, the ECI has decided to defer the polling for East Tripura Lok Sabha seat from April 18 to April 23. By this time, measures should be taken to enhance confidence among the voters”, it said.
This is for the first time, the ECI has deferred a scheduled polling day on security reasons clearly signaling that all is not well in the State when it comes to law and order situation.
Taking a lesson from the polling of West Tripura Parliamentary constituency which had witnessed large scale rigging, threats and intimidations, the State Election panel has reset its course and vowed to conduct voting in East Tripura Lok Sabha seat neutrally and peacefully.
“We want to hold the voting for East Tripura Parliamentary elections in a more free, fair and peaceful way than what has happened in the polling of West Tripura constituency”, CEO Sriram Tarinikanta told the media late Tuesday night here.
The State poll panel has recommended more forces to ensure tight security for the polling for East Tripura Lok Sabha constituency, he said, adding that all steps would be taken so that electors could exercise their democratic rights without any fear and intimidation.
All the political parties have welcomed the EC decision of deferring polling in East Tripura Lok Sabha elections.
“We welcome the EC decision deferring election for East Tripura Lok Sabha seat to April 23, a move aimed at conducting the election in a free, fair and peaceful manner”, said Education Minister Ratan Lal Nath in a hurriedly called press conference at the BJP headquarters here.
Two opposition parties – CPI(M) and Congress have claimed that EC’s decision to defer the polling for East Tripura Lok Sabha election has proved the opposition parties’ allegations of large scale rigging, threats and intimidation in the polling for West Tripura Lok Sabha seat.