Agartala: The second phase of polling for 17th Lok Sabha in Tripura for the East Tripura constituency, which was scheduled to be held on April 18, has been deferred to April 23, following demands from Opposition parties to conduct free-and-fair elections in the state, said chief electoral officer (CEO) Sriram Taranikanti in Agartala late on Tuesday night.
A notification from the Election Commission of India (ECI) said that reports have been received from the CEO as well as the Special Police Observer (SPO) in Tripura that the law-and-order situation prevailing in East Tripura Parliamentary constituency is not conducive for holding free-and-fair elections on April 18.
The SPO of Tripura had also reported and recommended that the poll scheduled on April 18 be deferred. The Returning Officer for East Tripura Parliamentary seat also expressed serious apprehension that unscrupulous elements may thwart the polling process in the constituency, based on ground and intelligence reports, and requested for additional central armed police forces.
The ECI then decided to defer the elections to April 23. In the meantime, additional measures for deploying extra police forces can be taken by the commission and expected that the law-and-order situation in the constituency to improve and become conducive for holding free-and-fair election, the notification added.
The ECI has also discharged the Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) for law and order, Rajiv Singh. for negligence of duty during the first phase of polls on April 11 and directed Special DG (L&O) VS Yadav to take over from him.
Meanwhile, addressing media persons, Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debbarman, president of the Tripura Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC), said that the party, following the alleged mass rigging which took place in the West Tripura Constituency on April 11, held talks with the All India Congress Committee (AICC) leaders and demanded the EC for re-polling in the state.
“The EC later agreed to defer the date of polls until April 23 so that more number of Central armed police forces can reach the state for the smooth conduct of elections,” Debbarman added.