Tripura to go for civic polls under shadow of violence

Tripura to go for civic polls today under shadow of violence

Police official said that an adequate number of vehicles were provided to all the 20 police stations in eight districts for mobile patrolling

Government employees chosen for election duty for civic polls wait in a queue to cast postal ballot, in Agartala. Credit: PTI Photo

Amidst allegations of political violence, Tripura will go to civic polls on Thursday with security measures further tightened on the directions of the Supreme Court, officials said.

Inspector-General of Police, Law and Order, Arindam Nath said that besides the Tripura Police and Tripura State Rifles, a large number of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Border Security Force (BSF) troopers would be deployed.

"The TSR troopers and police would be deployed in the polling stations and the Central forces would be deployed for area domination and maintaining law and order," Nath told IANS.

He said that in terms of sensitivity and vulnerability, 644 polling stations under 20 police stations are differently categorised and deployment of forces would be done accordingly.

Also Read | Kolkata Police book OSD to Tripura CM Biplab Kumar Deb

Another police official said that an adequate number of vehicles were provided to all the 20 police stations in eight districts for mobile patrolling.

"After the directions of the Supreme Court, additional 15 sections of CRPF are also being provided for the Agartala Municipal Corporation (AMC) and other civic bodies elections," a statement from the police headquarters said.

"Special drive has been launched for the execution of pending warrants and a total 161 pending warrants have been executed and 433 preventive arrests have been made so far after the declaration of the civic polls. Specific cases under appropriate sections of the law have been registered in all the reported incidents of political violence. So far 57 political cases have been registered after the declaration of the election (on October 22)," it said.

The top court, following a petition from Trinamool Congress' Rajya Sabha Member Sushmita Dev, had asked the Tripura Police to ensure that none of the political parties was prevented from exercising their rights to the campaign, for Thursday's municipal elections, in a peaceful manner.

Also Read | SC refuses to postpone Tripura election, tells state govt to ensure peace 

Similar directions, following petitions from the CPI-M, were also given by the Tripura High Court.

In view of the reported political violence and stepping up of activities of the Trinamool during the past three months, Thursday's elections to the 51-seat AMC and other civic bodies across Tripura attracted national attention besides intervention by the Supreme Court, Tripura High Court, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and BJP President J.P. Nadda.

Amidst allegations of pre-poll violence and intimidation by all the opposition parties, the ruling BJP won 112 (34 per cent) of the 334 seats uncontested in the AMC and 19 other urban local bodies -- Municipal Councils and Nagar Panchayats -- ahead of Thursday's elections.

Also Read | Political violence in Tripura affects PM Modi's reputation: Rebel BJP MLAs

Officials of the State Election Commission (SEC), which is conducting the civic polls, said that the BJP has already secured a majority in the seven civic bodies in Jirania, Ranir Bazar, Mohanpur, Bishalgarh in western Tripura, Santir Bazar and Udaipur in southern Tripura and Kamalpur in northern Tripura.

Now 785 candidates of various parties, including the BJP, the CPI-M-led Left, the Trinamool, and the Congress, are vying for 222 seats in the AMC and other civic bodies. Counting of votes will take place on November 28.

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