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EC to oversee Tripura electoral rolls revision

Posted on Nov 17, 09:43PM | IANS

The Election Commission (EC) will send observers after rescheduling the ongoing revision of electoral rolls in Tripura following the Congress's complaint about discrepancies in the voters' lists, an official said here Saturday.

The ruling Communist Party of India Marxist (CPI-M) in the state condemned the Congress move, and alleged that the opposition party was delaying the process of electoral rolls and trying to promulgate president's rule in the state.

"The Election Commission has informed the state election department that it would send a four-member team of observers to oversee the ongoing revision of electoral rolls in Tripura. We are yet to get their schedule of visit," Tripura's Chief Electoral Officer Ashutosh Jindal told IANS.

Earlier, the EC had extended from Nov 2 to Nov 14 the schedule of receiving claims and objections over the ongoing special summary revision of the electoral rolls.

The move comes after a Congress delegation led by general secretary and in-charge of northeastern states Luizinho Faleiro, who met poll officials in New Delhi earlier this month, complained about "wrongdoing" in the revision of voters' lists.

Assembly elections in three northeastern states -- Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura, which have 60 seats each -- are scheduled for February next year.

The EC said 120,306 people, including 80,000 fresh voters, have applied to be included in the voters' lists.

Criticising the change of the schedule for the revision of the rolls, the CPI-M alleged that the Congress was conspiring to dislodge the Left Front government in Tripura, as it did in 1988.

"The Congress becomes frightened to face the assembly elections as it would suffer a humiliating defeat in the ensuing assembly polls in Tripura. That's why the party wants to come to power through back door as it did in 1988," CPI-M state secretary Bijon Dhar told reporters.

He said that the Congress government in New Delhi led by then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi had promulgated the Disturbed Areas Act in Tripura after a series of "pre-planned terrorist violence" in its bid to install a Congress government in the state.

According to the previous schedule, the deadline for receiving claims and objection ended Oct 19.

Jindal said: "Now the final publication of the electoral rolls will be made Jan 12 next year (2013) instead of previous Jan 5 (2013)."

Congress leader Ashish Saha, who was part of the delegation that met the poll panel in New Delhi, said there are huge irregularities in special summary revision of the electoral rolls.

"The CPI-M with the help of a section of officers has included huge fake names in the voters' lists to get electoral mileage in the next assembly polls. Even names of Bangladeshi citizens were incorporated in the voters' lists," Saha told reporters.

According to the draft electoral lists published Sep 20, the total number of voters in Tripura was 2,277,415, including 1,114,100 women.