Tripura gears up for Rajya Sabha by-polls, BJP's search on for suitable face 
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The Election Commission of India (ECI) is unlikely to make a special arrangement for the Bru voters living in the Tripura relief camps to help them exercise their franchise in the Tuirial assembly seat on October 30.

Mizoram Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) P. Jawahar said there is no plan, as of now, to arrange special polling booths for Bru voters in Tripura relief camps to cast their votes in Tripura.

“We have not received any instruction from the ECI as regard the Bru voters till now. In fact, there is no plan to make special arrangement for the Bru voters as of now,” said Jawahar, adding that the election department is now engaged in normal arrangement only.

The Bru voters will have to come on their own and cast their votes in their respective polling stations in Mizoram in the upcoming bypoll unless a special arrangement is made for them, he added.

According to the CEO, 663 Bru voters are in Tripura relief camps and have permanently re-settled in that state.

He said other Bru voters, who live in the Tuirial assembly constituency, will cast their votes without objection.

Jawahar had on Monday inspected two polling stations- Zodin and Hortoki, where the Bru voters belong to. He also visited Kolasib town to oversee poll preparedness. He said that preparation for the bypoll is in full swing and is on the verge of completion as only the last round of training for polling officials is left. The training will be held three days before the voting, he said.

Earlier, political parties and NGOs, including Central Young Mizo Association (CYMA)had opposed any special arrangement for the Bru voters in Tripura and demanded deletion of their names from the state voter list as they have been allowed to resettle permanently in Tripura.

Meanwhile, the CYMA has alleged that some political parties were trying to make special arrangements to enable the Bru voters to exercise their franchise in the coming bypoll.

The organisation has said that the Bru voters in Tripura should come to their respective polling stations on their own and exercise their franchise. Thousands of Bru fled Mizoram and migrated to Tripura due to ethnic tension in 1997.

Bruswho were reluctant to return during repatriations were allowed to permanently re-settle in Tripura as per the agreement signed in January last year.

Four candidates are in the fray for the upcoming bypoll, following the death of incumbent MLA Andrew H. Thangliana of ZPM in August.

The ruling MNF candidate K. Laldawngliana is tipped against oppositions Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) and Congress nominees Laltlanmawia and Chalrosanga Ralte respectively. BJP also fielded its party spokesperson K. Laldinthara. A total of 17,911 electorates, including 9,092 female voters, will exercise their franchise in the bypoll. Counting of votes will be on November 2.

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