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'Outright rigging': CPI(M) demands fresh polls in Tripura West Lok Sabha seat

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Press Trust of India New Delhi
Demanding fresh elections in the Tripura West Lok Sabha seat, the CPI(M) on Tuesday alleged that the polling there was marred by "large-scale irregularities and outright rigging".
The party said it has written to the Election Commission and even submitted documents to prove their case for repolling in the seat, where elections were held in the first phase on April 11.
"We commend the demand of the Left Front Committee of Tripura to countermand the entire election in 1-Tripura West constituency and hold fresh polls. It was marred by large-scale irregularities and outright rigging. In our estimation more than 50 per cent of the booths had no polls," said CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury.
In its letter to the Election Commission, the party said that on February 20, 2019, the CPI(M) has brought to the poll panel's notice to specific concerns and possible threats to holding of free and fair polls.
"We had met the Commission on March 6, two days before the announcement and the notification of the polls. Regrettably, our worst apprehensions have been vindicated based on the actual developments.
"Based on our complaints and the responses from the observers and others, the ECI had come to the conclusion that the experience of April 11 was grave enough for postponing the 2-Tripura East (ST) Parliamentary Constituency on April 18 as scheduled," the letter said.
In its notification, issued to postpone elections in the Tripura East seat, the Election Commission had observed: "Whereas reports have been received from the Chief Electoral Officer, Tripura and from the Special Police Observer, Tripura that the law and order situation prevailing in the said 2-Tripura East (ST) Parliamentary Constituency is not conducive to the holding of free and fair poll in the constituency on 18th April, 2019".
On the poll related violence in West Bengal, Yechury said that in many places the party's polling agents were not allowed to enter.
"People are being identified outside in lines as to who is likely to vote for the ruling party and who against and they are beaten up and removed. If Left supporters are allowed to cast their votes in a free and fair manner then the election results will be entirely different," he said.
He claimed that during the last election, the party lost 171 workers in the effort to ensure that Left supporters could caste their vote.
"This is the level of intimidation and terror in the state. One life has already been lost and many more are injured," he said.

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First Published: Apr 30 2019 | 8:55 PM IST

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