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CPM meet on panchayat polls

Agartala, April 26: After the two-phase election to the two Lok Sabha seats in Tripura on April 7 and 12, the CPM has started preparing for the three-tier panchayat elections scheduled for July.

The party’s state committee met today to discuss the strategy for the polls as well as the process of selection of candidates.

The meeting will continue tomorrow.

After a series of meetings at the local and divisional levels, the CPM state committee meeting will discuss possible candidates and tactics for the panchayat election.

Party sources said the CPM would try to improve its performance since the last election.

“In the last panchayat election, the Opposition Congress and INPT alliance had captured 109 of the 511 gaon panchayats. This time, our target is to improve our performance by expanding our base since the Congress-INPT combine has further weakened after the Assembly elections last year,” a senior CPM leader said.

“This time, the party will be more selective in finalising candidates so that a positive signal can be sent to the electorate. The scrutiny will be stricter because there were allegations of corruption against a section of panchayat chiefs and members,” he said.

He added that the party was contemplating increa- sing the number of divisional and local committees “for better coverage of the electorate”.

The state election department will announce the dates for the panchayat polls soon after consultation with the state government.

Official sources in the department said till the last panchayat polls in July 2009, the state had 511 gaon panchayats, 23 panchayat samitis and four zila parishads.

“But the number of gaon panchayats has now increased to 591, while the panchayat samiti areas are still being demarcated and the zila parishads are likely to rise to eight.

The task of updating the electoral rolls will be finished by the end of June,” a source said.

Sources said security will be tightened for the panchayat polls and forces from other states will be sought but in much lower numbers than those requistioned for the Lok Sabha elections.