New Delhi: The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Wednesday declared the voting held at 168 polling stations of Tripura West Parliamentary constituencies void. The polling was conducted in the first phase of Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on April 11.
Announcing re-poll, the poll body said that the votes will be cast again for the Lok Sabha seat on May 12, between 7 AM and 5 PM.
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The decision came in the wake of complaints made by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) over alleged large-scale rigging, booth capturing, intimidation and attacks on the voters and polling agents by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members and their goons. While the CPI(M) sought re-polling in 846 of the 1,679 polling booths, the Congress demanded fresh polling in the entire Tripura West constituency.
To highlight their demands, the CPI(M) held simultaneous demonstrations in Agartala and in New Delhi on April 16. The BJP leaders, however, dismissed the accusations calling them false and concocted.
Earlier on Tuesday, a senior EC official told IANS that after scrutiny of reports, documents, video and webcasting footages of the poll process in the Tripura West Lok Sabha seat, detailed reports were sent to the Election Commission on Friday.
Predicting that the poll body may declare re-polling in as many as 140 polling stations, he informed that the analysis was done in two phases — April 12 to April 17 and April 24 to April 26.
He said, “The Election Commission’s Special Observer for Tripura Vinod Zutshi, former Deputy Election Commissioner, supervised the second phase (April 24 to April 26) of study of official reports, documents, video and webcasting footages of the poll process in the Tripura West Lok Sabha constituency.”
The CEO, four EC-appointed general observers, Returning Officer Sandeep Mahatme (also the District Magistrate and Collector of West Tripura district), all 19 Assistant Returning Officers and other officials were present in the second phase of studies.
The polling for the ongoing Lok Sabha Elections 2019 is being held in seven phases. A total of 91 seats went to polls in the first phase on April 11. The sixth phase of polling will be held on May 12. The counting of votes will be conducted on May 23.