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Tripura parties spar over revised voter list

Agartala, Nov. 26: The revision of electoral rolls in Tripura is upsetting some members of the ruling Left Front with some sources in the CPM describing the election commission’s decision as “over enthusiasm” and an “unnecessary exercise”.

However, the Congress, which had sought the commission’s intervention, is rejoicing over the investigations being carried out by the observers of the commission.

In the middle of such conflicting reactions, deputy election commissioner Vinod Jutsi will arrive here next Wednesday to take stock of the pre-poll situation and supervise the work being done by the observers.

Sources in the state’s election department said Jutsi would hold a high-level meeting with officers of the election department, district magistrates of all eight districts and subdivisional officers of all 23 subdivisions.

“He is also likely to visit some of the constituencies for spot verification and monitoring the revision. Apart from the meetings, his programme hasn’t been finalised yet,” a source said.

This time, revising the electoral roll has been a controversial issue because of allegations that booth-level officers of the election department were including “fake, dead, minor and Bangladeshi” voters.

In the first week of October, a delegation of office bearers, led by PCC general secretary Asish Saha, met Election Commission officials and submitted a memorandum alleging large-scale irregularities in including names in the electoral roll.

“It was in response to our appeal that the commission had extended the time for inclusion of names in the roll from October 28 to November 14. Now, the crucial hearing on claims and objections is on from November 22 and will end on December 5,” said Congress MLA Asish Saha.

Currently, two observers of the Election Commission, Sudhir Kumar and Ajay Jadav, are monitoring the process of claims and objections in West Tripura, Sipahijala, Gomati and South Tripura districts, Saha said.

Two more observers for the four other districts of the state are scheduled to arrive in next two days. According to the rescheduled programme, the draft electoral roll will be published on January 5 and the final roll on January 12.

While Congress leaders expressed satisfaction over the steps being taken by the Election Commission for preparing an error-free electoral roll, CPM office secretary Haripada Das described the activities of Congress leaders as a “conspiracy to postpone the election on schedule and to have it held under President’s rule”.

“The electoral roll has been prepared with due care and in many cases, the observers have already found the allegations made by the Congress to be false. But still they (Congress) are trying to create confusion by carrying out a campaign of untruths,” said Das.