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Left to skip oath ceremony

Amit Shah in Agartala on Thursday. Picture by UB Photos

Agartala: The Left Front in Tripura will skip the swearing-in ceremony of the new government at the Assam Rifles ground here on Friday. However, outgoing chief minister Manik Sarkar and those of his cabinet colleagues "available in Agartala" will attend the event.

In a news conference here on Thursday evening, Tripura Left Front convener Bijan Dhar alleged that the swearing-in was being held despite largescale post-election violence. "We have been invited, but we will not go to protest the swearing-in ceremony."

On Monday, polls will be held in Charilam constituency where election was put off after Left candidate Ramendra Narayan Debbarma died.

Dhar said the BJP and the IPFT were responsible for largescale violence at Charilam and said "free and fair elections" are not possible there because of violence.

A delegation of Left Front leaders on Thursday met chief electoral officer Sriram Taranikanti, and demanded that the bypolls be deferred.

CPM spokesperson Goutam Das claimed that 11 party offices of the Left Front allies had been looted and torched there in the last five days.

"We have sought the CEO's intervention to defer the election till the situation normalises at Charilam. He informed us that he would evaluate the situation," Das said. The Left Front's Charilam candidate, Palash Debbarma, has not been able to visit the constituency following threats to his security.

Modi visit

Hectic preparations are under way to welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the swearing-in ceremony.

Security has been beefed up as per SPG protocol at the swearing-in venue. There is heavy deployment of central security forces, Tripura State Rifles personnel and state police across West Tripura district.

"Sufficient forces have been deployed to ensure that no untoward incident takes place," inspector general of police, law and order, K.V. Sreejesh said. BJP national president Amit Shah, national general secretary Ram Madhav, Bhupendra Yadav and Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma arrived here on Thursday evening and were accorded a warm welcome at the airport.

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