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Tripura bypolls: Alleging large-scale rigging, Left Front to boycott counting

Alleging large-scale rigging during the bypolls to two Assembly seats in Tripura, the CPI (M)-led Left Front in the state Wednesday announced that it would boycott the counting of votes on Friday.

As per the latest reports, 89.2 per cent and 83.92 per cent of electorates voted in the bypolls to the Boxanagar and Dhanpur Assembly constituencies, respectively, on Tuesday.

In a press statement announcing the boycott of the counting process, Tripura Left Front convener Narayan Kar said the byolls were “completely rigged and made a farce”.

Expressing dismay at the Election Commission of India, the Left Front leader said, “.. in this respect, we drew the attention of the Election Commission time and again right from the beginning of the polling. But the sorry state of affairs was that no positive steps were taken to prevent the large-scale rigging. In this backdrop, the Tripura Left Front demanded the revocation of the rigged election in these two constituencies and the announcement of fresh election. But surprisingly, even after 24 hours, the Election Commission has not budged yet. It is amply clear the motive of the Election Commission”.

The bypolls were necessitated by the death of CPI (M) MLA Samsul Haque from the Boxanagar seat and the resignation of Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Pratima Bhoumik, who had contested and won with a BJP ticket from Dhanpur.

The ruling BJP and CPI(M) are the only major players in the field this time as both the Congress and TIPRA Motha, the major Opposition in the assembly, chose to sit these polls out.

At Boxanagar, BJP’s Tafajjal Hussain is up against CPI(M)’s Mizan Hussain. BJP’s Bindu Debnath and CPI(M)’s Kaushik Debnath are the major candidates at Dhanpur.

The Left had, in fact, started raising allegations of pre-poll intimidation and violence a few days before the poll day and sought intervention from the ECI.

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After Opposition supporters were allegedly obstructed from turning up at polling stations on the poll day, the Left Front blamed the Election Commission, district electoral officer and a section of the state police for allegedly taking a partisan role and demanded to revoke the entire bypoll process.

The ruling BJP brushed aside the allegations of poll violence during by-elections and claimed that the Left was trying to make excuses ready to save face after its “imminent defeat”.

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The BJP already has 31 MLAs in the 60-member Legislative Assembly, and the two seats that went to bypolls are not likely to affect the future of the government.

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