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BJP Wins 96% Panchayat Bypoll Seats in Tripura Uncontested, Oppn Cries Foul

Opposition parties and the IPFT have alleged that elected representatives were forced to resign by the BJP and it also did not allow their candidates to submit nomination papers for the elections.

PTI

Updated:September 18, 2018, 9:18 PM IST
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BJP Wins 96% Panchayat Bypoll Seats in Tripura Uncontested, Oppn Cries Foul
Representational photo (Reuters)
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Agartala: The ruling BJP in Tripura has won around 96 per cent seats uncontested in the by-elections of the three-tier panchayat polls in the state scheduled to be held on September 30, state election commissioner GK Rao said on Tuesday.

Over 3,000 seats were rendered vacant as a large number of members of gram panchayats, panchayat samitis and zilla parishads resigned after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT) combine came to power in the state in March.

Opposition parties and the IPFT, which is contesting the rural bypolls separately, have alleged that elected representatives were forced to resign by the BJP and it also did not allow their candidates to submit nomination papers for the elections.

Bypolls were scheduled to be held in 3,386 seats — 3,207 in gram panchayat, 161 in panchayat samitis and 18 zilla parishad seats. However, 3,247 of these (95.89 per cent) were won by the BJP uncontested.

“By-elections would be held in only 132 gram panchayat seats, and seven panchayat samity seats on September 30 as the rest of the seats were won by the BJP uncontested,” Rao said.

On the demand of opposition parties and the IPFT for postponement of the elections alleging that the BJP did not allow their candidates to submit nomination papers, he said it cannot be done as no violence was reported in the offices where the nomination papers were submitted.

“There is not a single complaint against Block Development officers, who act as returning officers for gram panchayat polls or against district magistrates, who function as returning officers for zilla parishad polls," the state election commissioner said. There was also no complaint against police, Rao said.

The opposition Left Front had last week demanded rescheduling of the bypolls claiming that opposition candidates could not file nomination papers due to attacks and intimidations by miscreants belonging to the BJP.

Describing the entire election process as a "farce", CPI(M) state secretary Bijan Dhar on Tuesday said, "First, our elected representatives were forced to resign. Then, when we tried to field our candidates, they (BJP) they did not allow us to submit nomination papers." Responding to a question, he said, "There is no use going to court. We will see what can be done."

He was referring to the refusal of the Supreme Court in August to set aside elections to the uncontested seats in the violence-marred panchayat polls in West Bengal where about 34 per cent seats were won by the ruling Trinamool Congress uncontested.

BJP spokesperson Mrinalkanti Deb said, "Our people have won uncontested as the opposition has no candidate to field. Their organisational base has shattered and the people have rejected them.”

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