Agartala: Agartala: The Congress and CPI-M have alleged poll malpractices by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections for the West Tripura constituency on Thursday. This is in sharp contrast to the claims made by the saffron party that voting was peaceful and electors exercised their franchise in a ‘festive mood’.
Addressing media persons on Thursday, CPI-M politburo member and general secretary Sitaram Yechury raised allegations against the representative of Election Commission in Tripura for playing a biased role and of favouring the ruling party in the first phase of general elections.
He alleged that there were no central forces deployed in the entire Parliamentary constituency on Thursday and the BJP governments at the Centre and the state collaborated to ensure that they were not deployed in the state. He further alleged that polling agents of opposition parties, especially CPI-M, were driven out in large numbers after the formalities were. BJP workers also threatened voters standing in the queues, he added.
CPI-M state secretary Goutam Das also alleged that the saffron party workers shooed Muslim minority voters away. Webcams were also damaged at several booths.
In total, he alleged that rigging took place in over 460 booths of the 1,679 polling booths. CPI-M has now demanded by-polls in those booths.
Meanwhile, Tripura Congress vice-president and senior advocate Pijush Kanti Biswas raised allegations against CEO Sriram Taranikanti and DGP Akhil Kumar Shukla for not discharging their duties properly as the law and order situation collapsed and thousands failed to exercise their democratic rights.
He demanded that the ECI should immediately remove the CEO and DGP from their respective posts and hold impartial elections.
Subal Bhowmik, the Congress candidate for West Tripura Lok Sabha seat, alleged that this was for the first time in the history of elections in Tripura that mass rigging took place at several polling booths. The state Congress also demanded re-polling in 166 booths. “11 CCTV cameras were damaged and 30,000 voters failed to cast their votes,” he added.
Meanwhile, addressing a press conference, BJP chief spokesperson Dr Ashok Sinha said peaceful voting led to a voter’s turnout of 81.21% in Tripura till 5 pm on Thursday.
Further, he criticised the CPI-M leaders and cadres for trying to create an absurd situation at Charilam, Mandai and Takarjala where attempts were being made to capture booths, but presence of BJP failed their attempt. However, nine BJP workers were admitted in hospitals for attacks constituted by CPI-M in different parts of West Tripura constituency.
BJP state president and chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb thanked the party workers who were on the field for curbing violence attempted by the opposition party cadres and supporters.
Reacting to the call by opposition for re-elections, BJP spokesperson Sinha said that the CPI-M and the Congress are insulting the electors.