Tripura Opposition CPI(M), Congress allege threat to their candidates
The BJP has won 85% of the seats uncontested in panchayat polls in Tripura, amidst allegations of threats to candidates of the Opposition parties.
The rural polls are scheduled to be held in the State on July 27.
“Of the total 6,646 seats comprising gram panchayats, panchayat samities and zila parishads, the BJP has won 5,652 seats uncontested,” State Election Commission secretary Prasenjit Bhattacharya said.
Counting on July 31
Tripura has a total 591 gram panchayats having 6,111 seats, 35 panchayat samities with 419 seats and eight zila parishads having 116 seats, he said.
The last date for withdrawal of nominations was July 11 and the counting will take place on July 31.
Altogether, 12,03,070 voters, including 6,16,893 males and 5,86,176 women will exercise their franchise at 2,623 polling stations between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. on the polling day.
“White ballot papers would be used for gram panchayat polls, pink ones for panchayat samities and green papers for zila parishads,” Mr. Bhattacharya said.
The Opposition CPI(M) and the Congress have alleged that their candidates were “threatened and attacked” by the “BJP-backed goons”.
They have also accused “armed gangs” of the BJP of preventing their candidates from collecting and filing their nomination papers during the scheduled nomination period from July 1 to July 8.
‘Atmosphere of fear’
About 121 CPI(M) candidates were forced to withdraw their nomination papers on the last day of withdrawal, the party claimed. Bike-borne BJP workers were stationed at the election offices so that no Opposition candidate could collect or submit nomination papers, it said, adding that in most of the places the police were just onlookers.
“Physical attacks on prospective candidates and attacks on the CPI(M) offices and leaders such as on the North Tripura district committee and sub-divisional office in Dharmanagar were resorted to, creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation,” a statement by CPI(M) said.
State Congress unit vice-president Tapas Dey also accused the BJP of reducing the election to a “farce”.
“They (BJP) did not allow many of our (Congress) candidates to file nominations and launched physical attacks on them and our supporters during filing of nominations. We were forced to withdraw 124 candidates from the fray in the face of terror by the BJP goons,” he said.
Refuting the allegations, BJP spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharya said candidates of the two Opposition parties did not file nomination because they had lost their support base.
“They have lost their support base and could sense their defeat in advance. So they did not file nominations,” he added.
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