Rangja Khungur Basumatary

New Delhi: The Election Commission on Sunday turned down a plea of the BPF to postpone polls in the Tamulpur constituency in Assam as its candidate has joined the BJP under inducement, and said under law adjourning election at this stage is allowed only if a candidate of a recognised party dies.

The Bodoland Peoples Front (BPF) had moved the poll panel alleging that its candidate from Tamulpur, Rangja Khungur Basumatary, joined the BJP on April 1 under inducement.

The election in Tamulpur will be held on April 6 in the third and last phase of the Assam assembly polls.

The Election Commission (EC) said it was not provided with any documentary evidence to suggest that Basumatary joined the BJP or that he was removed from the BPF, when it heard the matter.

The list of contesting candidates has already been finalised by the returning officer, according to the EC’s reply to the party.

At this stage, an election can be adjourned or a recognised political party is allowed to change its candidate only in event of death of a candidate of that recognised political party, it said citing Section 52 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

The candidate submitted before the commission that he has neither received any membership letter from the BJP nor given any letter of dismissal or suspension of membership by the BPF.

“I willingly without any pressure from any quarter, on April 1, 2021, joined the BJP. I have not received any notice, letter from BPF neither any letter from BJP in connection with the joining to BJP. At present, I am campaigning in favour of BJP supported UPPL candidate,” Basumatary told the EC.

“The complaint has been examined in context of prevailing circumstances and all the materials and documents available on record and on the basis of the same, the commission is of the considered view that under the extant statuary provisions, the matter does not warrant any intervention at this juncture,” the EC said in its reply.

It noted that one of its senior officers received a document over Whatsapp on Saturday suggesting that the BPF removed Basumatary from the primary membership from April 1.

The reply stated that the Whatsapp document “seems an afterthought” as no such document was made available to commission on April 2 when the matter was being heard.

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