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Tripura: 6 poll personnel arrested for misconduct, later released on bail

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TNT News | Agartala | April 21, 2019

The Election Commission has started taking actions against polling personnel who violated the guidelines during the West Tripura Lok Sabha polls on 11 April last.

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Six poll personnel have been arrested based on the evidences on record from Webcasting and CCTV footage. The six personnel arrested today by Shanti Bazar police have been identified as Gourab saha ( Micro Observer), Sambhu Nath Chowdhury (polling officer), Ratnajit Dey (Presiding Officer), Anukul Dutta (Cameraman), Shankar Majumder (polling officer) and Sukumar Shil (polling officer).

However, they were later released on bail.

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Five persons were on election duty at 35/50 polling station( Sunar Tilla High School) under 35 – Belonia assembly constituency.

According to official sources, some persons directly vitiating the poll in eight polling stations were predominant but the Presiding officer/ micro observers did not report the incident in the poll day report/ diary which was to be reported as per the ECI guidelines.

These eight polling stations are- 3-Debipur gram panchayat office (Kamalasagar), 28- Baranarayan HS School(Sonamura), Brajapur Hight School Dakshin Paschimangsha (Charilam), 52- Himmatpur SB School(Sonamura), 35- Chechuria SB School (Mohanpur), 18- Kushamara SB School (Kakraban-Salgarah), 50- Sonar Tilla High School (Belonia) and 26- Asgarh Rahamanpur High School (Rajnagar).

The Chief Electoral Office Sriram Taranikanti said that actions were taken in the ARO level.

The AROs of Sonamura, Mohanpur, Udaipur, Bishalgarh and Belonia sub-divisions have been directed to take proper actions against the defaulter Micro Observers and Presiding Officers for the misconduct during the first phase poll for West Tripura Lok Sabha constituency on April 11 last.

Two polling agents of BJP – Babul Bhowmik and Sujit Shil of Kushamara SB School (Kakraban – Salgarah) were arrested today for their misconduct during the first phase poll. FIR was also lodged against Dilip Ghosh and Nilmani Chakma from the same polling station but they have been absconding till the filing of this report.

Representational image source: The Hindu

Tripura: EC appoints 4 police observers for polling amidst “unconducive security situation”

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    IANS | Agartala | April 20, 2019

    The Election Commission has taken a slew of measures including appointment of four central police observers to hold the next phase of polling in the Tripura East Lok Sabha constituency, where election was deferred to April 23, citing an “unconducive security situation”, an official said here on Saturday.

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    In an unprecedented move, the poll panel has appointed three central police observers and a special central police observer to closely oversee the use of security forces in polling in the mountainous tribal reserved parliamentary constituency.

    “Plenty of forces, specially the central forces would be deployed in all the 1,645 polling stations in 1,349 locations, spread across six districts under the Tripura East Lok Sabha seat, on April 23,” Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sriram Taranikanti told IANS.

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    Refusing to disclose the number of additional central forces coming afresh to the state, the official said that polling agents of all the political parties and candidates and if necessary voters would also be provided security to facilitate smooth polling and casting of votes by all the eligible 1,257,944 voters, including 620,291 women electorate.

    He said that FIRs were being filed by the Assistant Returning Officers against Presiding, Polling officers and political activists who indulged in malpractices during the first phase of polling in Tripura West Lok Sabha constituency on April 11.

    “The police have been asked to arrest people involved in offences during the polling. They were being identified by studying webcasting, CCTV footage, official documents and complaints of the political parties,” the official said.

    Taranikanti returned here on Friday after submitting reports on the wrongdoings and recommendations to the Election Commission on the first phase of polling for the Tripura West Lok Sabha seat.

    He said that restrictions would be strictly implemented on the movement of private vehicles and political activists in and around the polling stations in the Tripura East constituency.

    “Senior EC officials are often holding video conference with the top election and police officials to study the preparedness of the third phase of polling in Tripura,” an Election official told IANS on condition of anonymity and said that the EC wanted to hold the balloting in the Tripura East seat with foolproof measures.

    A senior police official said that Director General of Police Akhil Kumar Shukla, who had visited some poll bound districts on Friday, and other top police officials would start camping a day before the polling in Tripura East constituency to supervise all aspects of security measures.

    The EC after deferring the election to the Tripura East Seat had also replaced Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Rajiv Singh with V.S. Yadav. As Yadav is now on leave, Inspector General of Police (Crime Branch) Puneet Rastogi is looking after Law and Order.

    The EC had deferred the Tripura East Lok Sabha seat polling following separate reports by the Chief Electoral Officer, Special Central Police Observer Mrinal Kanti Das (a former Director General of Manipur Police), Returning Officer Vikas Singh (also District Magistrate and Collector of Dhalai District) and other intelligence inputs.

    Tripura has two Lok Sabha constituencies. Polling in the Tripura West seat was held on April 11 and the EC deferred the voting in the Tripura East constituency from April 18 to April 23, citing “unconducive security situation”.

    The political parties and candidates in Tripura East Lok Sabha constituency had resumed their campaign on Wednesday after the EC deferred Thursday’s polling.

    The fresh campaign would end at 5 p.m. on Sunday.

    Tripura: BJP writes to EC, refutes claims of situation not conducive for polling as alleged by Cong, CPI(M)

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      Agartala | April 20, 2019

      The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has dismissed the opposition’s claim that law and order situation was not conducive for holding polls in Tripura East Lok Sabha constituency, where the polling was deferred from April 18 to April 23.

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      In a letter to the Election Commission on Friday, the BJP stated that a “false picture is being portrayed by the Congress and CPI-M with a view to mislead the Commission by attributing false allegations against the BJP.”

      The party said that no complaints were lodged with the police or the EC after elections were held in one of the two Tripura parliamentary constituencies in the first phase of Lok Sabha polls.

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      “The CEO on April 11 made a public statement that our general reports from all the observers are that it has been free and fair broadly,” the letter stated.

      The BJP apprised the EC that 82.97 per cent of polling was recorded during the first phase of ongoing general elections when West Tripura constituency went to polls on April 11, thereby showing the highest level of enthusiasm among the voters of the state who voted without fear or intimidation, and central forces were adequately deployed.

      Accusing the Congress and CPI-M of levelling such allegations, the party said, “Despite these attempts by opposition parties such as CPI-M and Congress to flare communal tensions, they have been unsuccessful. The ruling BJP government has successfully ensured a harmonious co-existence between all groups and communities.”

      “Therefore, these allegations of a breakdown of law and order against the BJP do not add up and do not fall in sync with the positive track record in governance and administration of the present dispensation,” the letter further stated.

      The party asserted that very few incidents of violence occurred and in no case, there was any loss of life.

      “The BJP stands by its duty to serve the people of Tripura and is committed to ensuring a safe environment for the conduct of free and fair elections. We reiterate our stand that there is no prevailing law and order situation which will harm the conduct of free and fair polls in Tripura,” the BJP said.

      It further urged the EC to not be misled by a “campaign of lies and misinformation” run at the behest of CPI-M and Congress.

      Polling was deferred in Tripura East Lok Sabha after the EC said “law and order prevailing in the constituency is not conducive to the holding of free and fair polls.”

      CPI-M Secretary General Sitaram Yechury on Friday had urged the election body to conduct re-polling at 464 booths in Tripura West Lok Sabha constituency, where the polling took place on April 11.

      “It is now established that there were large-scale irregularities. We hope EC will ensure that faith in our democracy is reaffirmed. The re-poll in 464 booths must be done as all voters should be able to exercise their franchise independently, exactly as it should be,” Yechury had tweeted.

      Source: Business Standard

      Tripura | TSR deployment in West Bengal postponed

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        AGARTALA | April 20, 2019:

        After polls to the Tripura East Lok Sabha constituency were rescheduled, the deployment of 12 companies of the Tripura State Rifles (TSR) in West Bengal has been postponed, officials said here on Friday.

        On Tuesday, the Election Commission (EC) deferred the Tripura East constituency polls from April 18 to April 23, citing an “unconducive security situation”.

        Following the instructions of the Union Home Ministry and the EC, the 12 companies comprising 1,020 TSR troopers were supposed to move to West Bengal on Friday.

        “As polling to the Tripura East Lok Sabha constituency was rescheduled, the TSR troopers led by two commanding officers are likely to move to West Bengal by next week if there isn’t any fresh development,” an official of Tripura’s Home Department said on the condition of anonymity.

        The TSR would be part of the central forces in West Bengal.

        The official said that two TSR companies of 170 troopers had performed election related duties in Nagaland, where the parliamentary polling to the lone Lok Sabha seat was held in the first phase of the elections on April 11.

        Tripura’s elite counter-insurgency trained India Reserve (IR) battalions of TSR had provided security during the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi and performed election related duties in more than 12 states — Bihar, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and the northeastern states.

        The TSR was constituted in March 1984 to deal with militancy. Seventy five per cent of its personnel are from Tripura while the remaining come from across the country.

        Currently the TSR has 12 battalions out of which nine are IR. The Union Home Ministry has recently sanctioned two more TSR battalions.

        (IANS)

        Tripura: ‘I retaliated against attack on my sister as a brother’; Pradyot Manikya demands strict action against attackers

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          TNT News | April 19, 2019

          Almost a day after a video showing Tripura Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) President Pradyot Manikya Debbarma slapping the culprit involved in the attack of Congress MP candidate for East Tripura seat Pragya Debbarma went viral, the BJP as well as its ally, the IPFT have begun questioning this act by Manikya while condemning the incident and accusing him of spreading violence in the state.

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          Reacting to the BJP and IPFT’s comments on his act, Pradyot Manikya while speaking to TNT- The Northeast Today said, ” The culprit tried to attack my sister and so I hit him back. I reacted as a brother at that point of time. I retaliated as a brother towards a man who tried to harm my sister. It is known now that the people involved in the crime were planning the same a day before the actual date of incident. They were 30 people armed with rods and other weapons and they were all drunk. The police failed to take proper action against the culprits and I retaliated given the circumstances”.

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          He also stated that the the police apprehended one person after the attack took place and later it was found out that the person was an IPFT worker and he had specific instructions from a certain person to not allow the Congress candidate’s convoy to enter the area near where the attack took place.

          He also pleased the Election Commission as well as the police to carry out their responsibilities well and put such persons behind bars, atleast until the end of the election period.

          It may be mentioned that due to breakdown of law and order situation in the state, the second phase of Lok Sabha polls was deferred by the Election Commission from April 18 to April 23.

          The EC is also filing a series of FIRs against various polling officials for malpractices during the 1st phase of polling on April 11. Various instances of poll rigging were also reported from several polling stations and for which the BJP was accused by both the CPI(M) as well as Congress.

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          TPCC challenges BJP to prove allegations against Pradyot Manikya, questions BJP’s statement on Cong spreading violence

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            TNT News | Agartala | April 19, 2019

            Tripura Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) in a late night press conference on April 18 at Congress Bhavan condemned the attack on East Tripura Congress candidate Pragya Debbarma and accused BJP of spreading violence in the state.

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            “There was a brutal attack on our East Tripura Candidate and in that attack three of our activists were severely injured. We condemn this incident. These sort of attacks on candidates of opposition parties have become a recurring phenomena in the state. BJP has realised that they have lost all connect with the people and the people have rejected them and that is why they have stooped down to the level of violence. If there is free and fair election in the state, then the BJP candidates will even lose their deposits”, Pijush Biswas, Vice President TPCC said.

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            He also added, “The BJP in a press conference has accused TPCC President Pradyot Manikya of spreading violence whereas the person who has been arrested for attacking our candidate had no complaints against Pradyot Kishore Manikya. It was the BJP who later instructed the police to lodge an FIR against Debbarma, the attacker”.

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            TPCC spokesperson also challenged the BJP to arrest TPCC president while asserting that the people of the state are aware of the truth.

            The Congress also questioned the BJP on their candidate for West Tripura Lok Sabha seat who was seen on camera threatening to kill Additional SP and why no action or clarification has been made in this regard.

            “There have been continuous attacks on opposition candidates but none of the BJP leaders have condemned even a single one of them. After today’s incident, BJP held a press conference but not a single time did they condemned the attack on Pragya who might have died in the attack”, Pijush Biswas stated.

            It may be mentioned that after instances of poll rigging and violence during the first phase of Lok Sabha polls on April 11, the EC has deferred polling for the secons phase of elections on April 22.

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