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Voters, polling staff blocked by BJP in Tripura: CPI-M, Congress

Agartala, April 24 (TIWN / IANS) Opposition CPI-M and Congress on Tuesday alleged that thousands of voters were prevented from casting their votes and a large number of polling agents belonging to the two parties were not allowed to enter or sit inside the polling stations by the ruling BJP and its goons.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and the Congress -- in a series of complains to the Election Commission and its observers -- alleged that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members and its goons threatened their agents and voters with dire consequences at many places across the Tripura East parliamentary constituency that went to the polls in the third phase on Tuesday.

However, both the main opposition parties said that in view of the series of measures taken by the Election Commission and the pro-active steps of the security forces, balloting on Tuesday was better than the first phase of polling in the Tripura West constituency on April 11.

Organising demonstrations in Agartala and in Delhi, the Congress had demanded fresh polling in the entire Tripura West seat while the CPI-M wanted re-polling in 846 of the 1,679 polling booths.

CPI-M's Tripura state Secretary Gautam Das said: "Tuesday's elections were held amidst terror environment of the BJP and their hoodlums. After the vote dacoity in the April 11 polling in the Tripura West seat by the BJP and its goons, thousands of people were unyielding to cast their votes today (Tuesday) in the Tripura East constituency."

He said that in more than 30 places, the BJP and its goons prevented many CPI-M polling agents from entering the polling booths. Many polling agents were also driven out after severe thrashing, Das said.

Congress Vice-President Tapas Dey said that despite a series of demands to the Election Commission and its observers, BJP members and their hooligans were in free run in a large number of areas since the last few days.

"Today (Tuesday) since early morning the BJP members and its hoodlums prevented the voters from moving to their respective polling stations.

"Despite the instructions of the observers, a section of police and election officials did not take any action to help these thousands of people cast their votes," Dey told the media.

Strongly denying the charges of the opposition parties, the BJP told the Election Commission that a section of the security personnel and some officials showed high-handedness while performing election duties.

"Opposition parties are conspiring against the BJP government and maligning the image of the state by making false and fabricated allegations," BJP spokesman Ashok Sinha told the media after meeting election officials.

The poll panel had last week deferred voting in the Tripura East constituency from April 18 to April 23.

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