67% votes cast in Tripura panchayat polls, oppn parties cry foul
Agartala, July 26 (PTI): An estimated 67.16 per cent votes were till 3 pm cast in the three-tier panchayat elections in Tripura, which passed off peacefully on Saturday, an election department official said.
Polls were held in only 15 per cent of the total seats as 85 per cent seats have already been won by the ruling BJP unopposed.
Opposition parties said BJP workers intimidated their voters from Friday night and did not allow them to exercise their franchise, a charge denied by the saffron party.
“Elections passed off peacefully and 67.16 per cent votes were recorded till 3 pm. Since ballot papers were used, it would take some more time to get the final percentage,” State Election Commissioner G K Rao said.
Polls were held in 833 gram panchayat seats, 82 panchayat samiti seats and 79 zilla parishad seats, SEC Secretary Prasenjjit Bhattacharya said.
There are a total of 6,111 gram panchayat seats, 419 panchayat samiti seats and 116 zilla parishad seats in Tripura.
The SEC official said the BJP has won 5,652 seats of the total 6,646 gram panchayat, panchayat samity and zilla parishad seats unopposed.
Additional Inspector General of Police (Law and order), Subrata Chakraborty, said elections were peaceful and no major incident of violence was reported from any part of the state during the polls.
However, the opposition Congress has alleged that the rural poll was reduced to a farce by the BJP activists and their party sponsored goons.
“From Friday evening the BJP sponsored goons started intimidating our supporters. They also did not allow our supporters to cast their votes. The election was reduced to a farce,” state Congress vice-president Tapas Dey claimed.
The BJP won 85 per cent seats uncontested because its workers did not allow to file nomination to the opposition party nominees, he alleged.
CPI(M) state committee member Pabitra Kar alleged that the BJP workers intimidated the voters from the previous night and did not allow a large section of voters to go the polling stations for casting votes.
“I didn’t find any long queue of voters before the booths. They started threatening our supporters with dire consequences from last evening if they turned up in the booths to vote,” he claimed.
“We are compiling the data of the incidents of intimidation and attacks and shall lodge complaints to police,” Kar told reporters.
BJP spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharya denied the charges saying the people came out to vote with enthusiasm.
Candidates of the opposition parties did not file nomination as they have ‘lost their support base’, he said.