Opposition parties allege harassment by BJP workers; CPI(M) forced to ‘withdraw’ candidates in four seats of Agartala Municipal Corporation to ‘avert attacks’
Agartala: Amid widespread allegations of attack and harassment on supporters of the CPI(M) and the Congress by workers of the ruling BJP in the state, polling for 67 seats, out of 157, for 14 municipal bodies of Tripura ended on Thursday afternoon with a voter turnout of 82.89%.
While poll officials said that no case of violence was reported, opposition CPI(M) alleged widespread violence against its supporters and candidates. The party also “withdrew” their candidates in four seats of Agartala Municipal Corporation to “avert further attacks”.
“As soon as the voting process starts, agents and candidates of the Opposition parties were attacked, harassed and stopped from entering the polling stations. Former minister and MLA of Bishalgarh constituency and other agents were also beaten up and harassed by the BJP goons. Hence the state committee was forced to withdraw the candidates from the polls,” Pabitra Kar, CPI-M West District secretary, told EastMojo.
Condemning the act, the CPI(M) demanded that the State Election Commission and office of the Sub-Division Magistrates (SDM) should conduct a free-and- fair election. He further said that to avert such attacks on the party candidates and its supporters, the party had to withdraw its candidates from ward numbers 3,4,35 and 47.
Apart from the four seats in the Agartala Municipal Corporation, the party also decided to withdraw candidates from Bishalgarh, Belonia and Santirbazar seats due to attack by ruling BJP.
Addressing media persons, the Congress party also criticised the ruling BJP-IPFT government for “unfair” elections across the state. The Congress party also criticised the BJP for the large-scale rigging in the polling booths of ward number 35.
Meanwhile, Harekrishna Bhowmik, spokesperson of the Congress, demanded re-polling in Belonia, Udaipur, Agartala and Shantibazar seats.
Refuting to such allegations, Dr Ashok Sinha, chief spokesperson, BJP, said that the CPI(M) has even failed to field candidates in all the seats. “These allegations are absolutely baseless,” he said.
Earlier, G Kameshwara Rao, state election commissioner, had declared November 23 as the election date for 157 seats in 14 municipal seats where 1,70,341 voters were scheduled to cast their votes. Later, the date was shifted to December 22. Ultimately, the date was further changed and ultimately December 27 was fixed as the date of polling without citing any reason by the State Election Commission.