The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:
Tripura: Restore Democracy, Countermand Elections in Rigged Polls
The municipal elections held in Tripura on November 25 comprising the Agartala municipal corporation and 19 other municipal bodies was converted into an outright farce by the ruling BJP.
Prior to the polling day, in Agartala and other towns, gangs of BJP men began visiting houses and threatening CPI(M) candidates, polling agents and local leaders warning them not to go out on polling day. Threats of physical violence and driving their families out of their houses were issued.
On polling day, in Agartala, Dharmanagar, Khowai, Belonia and Melaghar, there was extensive booth capturing by BJP goons and physical prevention of voters in many places. In Agartala town, polling agents of Left parties were beaten up and driven out of many booths. Most of the booths were captured at the start of the polling itself and people prevented from voting. Earlier, in seven municipalities, opposition candidates were prevented from filing nominations. As a result, after withdrawals, BJP candidates were elected unopposed.
All these brazen attacks on the electoral system, democracy and the right to vote have taken place despite the Supreme Court passing orders to ensure adequate deployment of Central police forces to secure the electoral process. The BJP state government has blatantly flouted all the directions issued by the Supreme Court. The police and Central police forces were made to be mute spectators to the rigging of the election.
The Left Front of Tripura has demanded the countermanding of the polls to: (1) Agartala municipal corporation, (2) Dharmanagar municipal council, (3) Khowai municipal council, (4) Belonia municipal council and (5) Melaghar municipal council.
Along with that, the Left Front has demanded re-polling in a number of wards in other nagar panchayats like Panisagar, Subroom, Sonamura, Kumarghat, Amarpur and other urban bodies.
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) endorses this demand of the Left Front. Since the Supreme Court had intervened to try and ensure a free and fair poll, it should act now to safeguard democracy and the citizens’ right to vote in Tripura.