Ruling BJP Sweeps Tripura Civic Bypolls

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Agartala: The Bhartiya Janata Party on Friday swept the bypolls for the vacant seats in nine municipal bodies of Tripura, including Agartala Municipal Corporation. The BJP won 66 of the 67 seats, polling for which was held on Thursday.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) had planned to carry out a rally on Saturday to protest the “total farcical civic elections and murder of democracy in Tripura by the BJP government”. As per a senior official of the Tripura State Election Commission (TSEC), the BJP had earlier won 91 seats unopposed.

“The lone seat in the Panisagar Nagar Panchayat went in favour of the opposition CPI-M,” news agency IANS quoted the official as saying. The TSEC had declared by-elections for 158 seats in 14 municipal bodies, including the Agartala Municipal Corporation, in November.

Meanwhile, CPI-M leader Pabitra Kar dubbed the elections as “farce” and said that he will be organising protests. CPI-M secretary Gautam Das said: “In places where some of our candidates submitted their nominations, BJP and their hoodlums attacked them, their houses and properties while the police and the State Elections Commission remained as spectators,”
Das further alleged that former finance minister and current Public Accounts Committee chairman Bhanulal Saha was attacked by BJP workers on Thursday.

“Despite our repeated requests to all authorities, including the Director General of Police and State Election Comminnserner, with the active connivance of the officials of the TSEC and security personnel, the elections were rigged in Udaipur, Belonia, Santir Bazar in southern Tripura and Kumarghat, Kailashahar, Panisagar in northern Tripura besides in Agartala,” said Das.

Congress leaders Harekrishna Bhowmik and Tapas Dey added that they have requested for a re-poll in most of the 67 seats. They have accused the BJP of having controlled the elections with the help of local administration.

BJP spokesman Nabendu Bhattacharjee has rejected all such claims made by the opposition, saying “people have already turned their face away from these parties as they lost the public support in the recent assembly polls.”