Agartala (Tripura) [India]: Elections for more than 200 seats in the Agartala Municipal Corporation (AMC) and other municipal bodies will be held on Thursday but Trinamool Congress Tripura unit Steering Committee head Subal Bhowmik has expressed apprehensions over free and fair polls, alleging the police continue to be a mute spectator on the incidents of violence against party candidates while lamenting that the Election Commission has not arranged voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) and closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras for the polls.
“In absence of the arrangement of VVPATs and CCTV cameras by the Election Commission, the holding of municipal polls has turned into a farce exercise. Such is the atmosphere made by the ruling government, it is shameful,” he added. He also said that the violence in the state against TMC workers continues in spite of directions from the Supreme Court to police to ensure free and fair conduct of polls.
Tripura civic body elections are scheduled for today. Tensions in Tripura have increased after violent incidents in the run-up to the elections to the Agartala Municipal Corporation (AMC) and 12 other municipal bodies.
Bhowmik told the media, “A total of 32 candidates of our party have been attacked in various parts of the state and attacks on workers are uncountable. The scale of political vengeance that TMC is facing in the state has crossed all limits. Yesterday, vandalisation took place at residents of three candidates. A total of 27 FIRs have been filed but not a single arrest has been made. In spite of the Supreme’s Court’s judgement, the police continue to be a mute spectator. It is difficult to even visit a police station and file a complaint. If such a situation persists, it will be impossible to hold free and fair elections in the state.”
Responding to state Law Minister Ratan Lal Nath’s comments on the court’s order, he said that the party did not want to postpone the elections.
“The main spirit of our appeal was to convince the Court about the prevailing situation in Tripura and necessary arrangements so that the polls could be done in a free and fair manner. And, in the Court’s judgement, it is crystal clear that the Court is worried about the elections,” he added.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined the plea of All India Trinamool Congress to postpone the Tripura local body elections scheduled on November 25 and directed the police to increase the security arrangements for conducting free and fair polls and the declaration of results.
Reacting to the order, Tripura Law Minister Ratan Lal Nath had said on Tuesday that the conspiracy hatched by the TMC to postpone the civic body elections in Tripura got foiled as the apex court dismissed its petition to postpone the polls.