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EC team to reach Agartala on Jan. 5

Agartala, Jan. 1: A full bench of the Election Commission comprising Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath and election commissioners H.S. Brahma and Syed Nasim Ahmed Zaidi will arrive here on Saturday to make a final assessment of preparations of electoral roll and law and order before announcing the date for the Assembly elections.

They will be accompanied by a group of senior Election Commission officials.

Tentatively the election is expected to be held by the end of February. The Assembly’s term expires on March 16.

An official source in the poll panel said the full bench of the commission would also visit Meghalaya and Nagaland to monitor preparations for Assembly elections in those states.

According to sources following complaints of largescale irregularities in the poll roll, the commission had extended the date for publication of the final roll on January 12. Preparations are on in full swing to publish the final roll on the scheduled date.

“We are now thoroughly checking into allegations made by parties on inclusion and exclusion of names in the electoral roll. Work is being completed with due care to eliminate scope for lingering errors,” a source said.

The source added that the poll panel is likely to announce dates for Assembly polls in Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya after the members’ visit.

The Tripura PCC yesterday organised statewide blockades of offices of sub-divisional officers (SDOs) or returning officers in all 23 subdivisions to protest their alleged partisan activities in favour of the ruling Left Front in preparing electoral rolls.

A long procession of Congress workers led by party MLAs Gopal Roy, Asish Saha and Intuc president Dipak Roy marched through Agartala town and laid siege to Sadar SDO’s office.

There was no untoward incident. The SDO (Sadar), Manik Lal Das, allowed a five-member Congress delegation to meet him at his chamber and hold discussions.

Later talking to the media, Gopal Roy said SDO (Sadar), Manik Lal Das, had assured them that foolproof measures would be adopted to prepare an error-free electoral roll. “He has given us an assurance, may be he will try his best but we have no faith in at least 11 of the 23 SDOs in the state who have been working in a highly partisan manner. We have complained to the commission with evidence of how some SDOs and district magistrates have violated even instructions issued by observers of the commission. We will continue our agitation and try to have an error-free electoral roll before publication of a final electoral roll,” Gopal Roy said.


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