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Repoll ordered in 168 polling stations of West Tripura, opp parties move SC

May 8 (AZINS) After the Election Commission ordered repoll in 168 out of the 1,679 polling stations in West Tripura Lok Sabha seat, the opposition CPI(M) on Wednesday said it has filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking fresh election in the entire constituency.

The Congress in the BJP-ruled state also claimed that it will move the apex court on Thursday with a similar prayer.Repoll in 168 polling stations across 26 of the 30 assembly segments under the Lok Sabha seat will be held on May 12, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sriram Taranikanti said.

Polling in the constituency was held on April 11 and the CPI(M) and the Congress had demanded repoll in the entire constituency, alleging large-scale rigging by the BJP."We had demanded fresh elections in West Tripura as most of the people could not vote due to rigging and violence by BJP cadres. Voters are frustrated with the EC's decision to hold repoll only in a few polling stations. We have filed a petition in the Supreme Court today seeking fresh election in the entire constituency," Left Front chairman Bijan Dhar said.

CPI(M)'s West Tripura candidate Shankar Prasad Dutta filed the petition challenging the EC' decision of repolling only in 168 seats, Dhar told a press conference.State Congress president Pradyot Kishore Debburman said his party has prepared a draft petition and will file the case in the Supreme Court on Thursday.

The Returning Officer of West Tripura in his report had said voting was vitiated in 433 polling stations. Our petition will question how the EC overruled the RO's report and settled for repoll in 168 polling stations only," Debburman told reporters.

Tripura BJP spokesperson Ashok Sinha said, "The EC is the judge and they have every right to declare re-polling." In his appeal to the parties and poll workers, state CEO Taranikanti said everyone should demonstrate during repolling on May 12 that "we can do it in a nice and positive environment."

The EC had last week removed West Tripura District Magistrate Sandeep Namdeo Mahatme, who was also the Returning Officer of West Tripura Lok Sabha seat.Mahatme was replaced by East Tripura RO and District Magistrate of Dhalai, Vikash Singh.

After allegations of rigging in West Tripura were raised, the EC had postponed voting in East Tripura, the other Lok Sabha seat in the state, to the third phase on April 23 from April 18, saying the prevailing law-and-order situation there is not conducive for holding free and fair poll. Special Election Observer Vinod Zutshi had come here late last month and examined footages recorded in webcams in the booths of West Tripura and other documents. He later submitted his report to the EC.