The South Asian Times

20 January 2018 23:44 PM

EC reviews Tripura poll preparedness, asks to ensure conducive situation for elections

By IANS

Agartala, Nov 29: The Election Commission (EC) after reviewing the poll preparedness in Tripura has asked state officials to ensure conducive law and order situation for holding of Assembly elections, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) A.K. Joti said here on Wednesday.

"We have asked the Tripura officials, including Chief Secretary, Home Secretary and Director General of Police, to closely monitor the law and order situation, take suitable steps and to ensure favourable situation for holding the elections before expiry of the five-year term of the state assembly," Joti told the media before leaving for New Delhi.

"Political parties have demanded that law and order situation needs to be improved. The parties have also demanded early deployment of Central Armed Police Force (CAPF). The CAPF would be used for confidence building measures."

The CEC said the commission has strong belief that like the previous elections Tripura would be able to set a new benchmark for holding free, fair, peaceful and transparent polling.

"Next assembly elections would be celebrated as the festival of democracy," he added.

Left-ruled Tripura had set a record for highest-ever voter turnout with over 93 per cent polling in the last assembly elections in February 2013.

The five-year terms of the assemblies in Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura -- with 60 seats each -- will end on March 6, 13, and 14 respectively next year. Elections in the three states are likely to be held simultaneously in February.

The full EC led by the CEC arrived here on Tuesday after conducting similar exercise in Nagaland.

Election Commissioner Om Prakash Rawat, along with another Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and Deputy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain and other officials accompanied the CEC. Rawat told IANS that the full EC would soon go to Meghalaya to review the poll preparedness in that state.

Joti said: "We have asked the concerned officials to take appropriate steps to prevent cross-border illegitimate activities along the India-Bangladesh border. We have directed the officials to step up inter-state border surveillance to curb any unwanted activities."

"The Commission would also ask the Income Tax department, Financial Intelligence and banking authorities to remain vigilant about any illegal and unauthorised transactions. The flying squads of the security forces would use the GPS (Global Positioning System) to monitor the situation before the elections."

The CEC said that in order to make the electoral rolls fool-proof, a special summary revision is now on in Tripura and the rest of the country with January 1, 2018, as the qualifying date for inclusion in the electoral list. The final rolls will be published on January 5.

"The commission earlier tried to introduce Aadhaar and mobile numbers in the election process, but due to pending litigation in the Supreme Court, the commission is unable to use Aadhaar number in the electoral exercise," Joti stated.

The EC has directed various departments, including power, education and public works, to inspect the roads leading to 3,170 polling stations to be set up in Tripura as well as uninterrupted electricity supply to them.

"Most political parties, including Communist Party of India-Marxist and the Congress, requested the EC to ensure polls were held in time, while the Bharatiya Janata Party urged for fool-proof electoral rolls before elections are held," an official of the Tripura election department said on condition of anonymity.

Update: 29 Nov, 2017

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