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State Election Commission holds meeting with political parties, 40 coy additional central force sought from MHA
State Election Commission holds meeting with political parties, 40 coy additional central force sought from MHA

AGARTALA June 11 (TIWN): The State Election Commission on Wednesday held a marathon meeting with representatives of different political parties of Tripura to discuss issues relating to the coming three tier panchayat election in the state. Representatives of sixteen political parties participated in the meet today – highest ever in the history of the state election commission. “We invited all political parties inrrespective of national, state or registered parties. Any party known to us was invited and we got very good response”, State Election Commissioner Yatendra Kumar said later this afternoon.

Speaking to reporters at the civil secretariat at Agartala today, CPI (M) state committee leader Samar Adya said that the party had appealed for intervention from the State Election Commission for free and fair polls. “We have sought intervention from the Commission to stick to the guidelines in letter and spirit and assured cooperation and support to the SEC”, Adya said. He said that all opposition parties including Congress, Trinamool Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came unified against the Left Front parties in the meeting.

The CPI (M) leader added that all political parties unanimously supported a demand for introducing videograophy of all political rallies, street corner meetings etc held centering the panchayat election.

The Congress delegation was represented by Tripura Pradesh Congress spokesperson Prabir Chakraborty and Balai Goswami. Speaking to reporters after the meeting today, Goswami said that Congress demanded full-proof security cover by Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF). He added that the party requested SEC to consider minor technical errors during the process of filing nomination papers instead of cancelling them straightaway. The party sought judicial scheduling of the polls keeping in mind the religious rituals in the month of Ramadan.

Asked about his take on the demands later today, State Election Commissioner Y Kumar said that despite time constraints, the Commission would schedule the election with least disturbance for people from the Mohammedan community in the Holy month of Ramadan. Speaking about security issues, the official said that the state Home Department has already written to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to provide additional 40 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) for the panchayat polls.

“The MHA doesn’t usually allow central forces for panchayat election. Tripura was specially permitted to use CAPF deployed in the state in 2009 state panchayat election. Due to several reasons, figures of central armed police forces deployed in the state have gone down over the years. We have sought 40 additional companies of CAPF for the election”, Kumar said.

The State Election Commission will adopt guidelines laid down by the Election Commission of India (ECI) in any case where deemed important, the official added. He further stated that entry of unauthorized voters inside polling stations wouldn’t be tolerated. The state recently came into controversy after Congress and other opposition political parties of Tripura alleged poll malpractice during the recently concluded Lok Sabha election process. “All steps are being taken in accordance to the Tripura Panchayat Act and the Election Commission of India guidelines”, State Election Commissioner Y Kumar stated.

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