Vol. XLIII No. 14 April 07, 2019

Ensure Free & Fair Polls in Tripura

CPI(M) Polit Bureau member, Nilotpal Basu, has written to the chief election commissioner, Election Commission of India on March 29 regarding various issues, including attacks on candidates by the ruling party in Tripura.  He drew the attention of the CEC to the letter written by the CPI(M) candidate Shankar Prasad Dutta, from 1- Tripura West parliamentary constituency to the CEC dated March 28, 2019.

Basu said that it is quite apparent that the interaction of the delegation led by the Party general secretary, Sitaram Yechury with the Commission, has not been able to evoke any tangible response on the ground. The delegation had complained against the antecedents of the returning officer of the constituency whose act of stopping the publication of the CPI(M) mouthpiece in the state was reversed by the High Court. Even after such a judicial stricture, which clearly established his bias against the main opposition party, CPI(M), he continues to be on duty as the returning officer. This is clearly against the convention followed so far by the Election Commission, for ensuring a level playing field.

“Further, we have seen series of completely unlawful and violent attacks by the ruling party on the candidate himself, as well as, on different campaign programmes and election offices of the candidate.  Now the letter underlines the horrific situation. Meanwhile, I had also forwarded to you the video clip of Biplab Deb’s speech which underlines his direct threat against the opposition. In such a context, if the RO is not relieved of his responsibility and meaningful measurers undertaken to ensure an obstruction and destruction free campaign for the CPI(M) candidate in the state, holding of free and fair polls will not be possible. I dare say, that this responsibility is the precise contention of Article 324 for ensuring what we are asking for,” Basu wrote.

He urged the CEC to let them know of the measures he is contemplating/initiating to ensure a free and fair polls in Tripura. “You may also suggest to us as to how we could further cooperate with you to ensure a free and fair election, while exercising our constitutional right of having a level playing field and a free and fair poll,” Basu wrote.