The Election Commission on Wednesday ordered a repoll at 168 polling stations out of 1700 in the West Tripura Lok Sabha constituency, thereby rejecting the demand from major opposition parties to hold fresh election in entire constituency.
Repoll in polling stations, spread over 26 of 30 assembly segments of the West Tripura constituency, will take place on May 12.
The announcement ended the month-long suspense over the fate of the April 11 elections in the constituency marred by allegations of massive rigging, booth capturing and irregularities. Opposition Congress and CPI (M) accused the BJP of reducing the election into a farce, and demanded a repoll in the entire constituency.
“We are not happy with the decision of the commission. BJP had rigged the entire constituency, so repoll in a fraction [of polling stations] will not reflect aspiration of voters,” the Congress candidate from West Tripura Subal Bhowmik told The Hindu .
CPI(M) leader and former assembly Deputy Speaker Pabitra Kar said the announcement had no real meaning in wake of the demand for a repoll in entire constituency. He said the party would formally give its response later in the day.
State BJP has not issued a statement on the announcement.
Meanwhile additional paramilitary contingents began arriving in Tripura for deployment during the re-poll exercise. State election department officials said central forces would be deployed in all of polling booths going to re-election on May 12.
The commission earlier removed West Tripura returning officer Sandeep Mahatme and ADG Rajiv Singh in view of complaints from different quarters. Several polling staffs were arrested and terminated from service for laxity in duty during April 11 elections.