Deexa KhanduriSputnik correspondentAll materialsThe Indian state of Tripura is undergoing the second and last phase of its elections, for 222 seats out of 334 in the legislature. The first phase was held on 9 November for 112 seats, in which the state’s ruling party BJP won all the seats as other parties did not contest. Opposition parties in India’s Tripura accused the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday of rigging the election and intimidating people during the ongoing elections in the northeastern state. The polls began early in the morning. Posting a six-second video on social media, Trinamool Congress (TMC), has claimed that the BJP workers badly beat one voter.
While the TMC criticised the BJP, another opposition party — the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) — also alleged that not all voters could enter the polling booths.
In a video shared by CPI-M on social media, an old woman alleged in the Bengali language that she was not allowed to enter polling booths to cast her vote.
A similar video is also posted by social media users where a group of elderly women alleges that they were not allowed to cast their vote.
The CPI-M on Thursday also held a protest in Tripura’s capital city of Agartala at police headquarters, demanding free and fair elections.
Meanwhile, alleging that the polls were rigged, TMC shared another video which they claimed it is of Ward Number 13 (Ward: any big polling area is divided into wards and no. is allocated for its identification) within Agartala city, showed a man in a black shirt telling a woman which button to press on the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM).
It could not be confirmed which party the man belonged to.
According to the rules, such an action inside a poll booth is considered a violation of Election Commission of India (ECI) guidelines, which say that when any person is voting, no other person should be standing near that voter.It is the State Election Commission that conducts the local polls. But since the ruling party holds the power in general and security forces present at poll stations operate under the federal Home Ministry, the ruling party, in this particular case BJP, faces criticism for any alleged violation of rules or violence in the State.Coincidentally, in Tripura state too the BJP is the ruling party.The election is being held virtually under the Supreme Court’s watch after the TMC’s appeal last week for ensuring that the opposition is allowed to operate in the political space.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court also asked the Central government to deploy two additional companies of CAPF (central armed police forces), in the northeastern State “as expeditiously as possible”.Meanwhile, Senior Advocate Mahesh Jethmalani (appearing for the Tripura government) told the Supreme Court of India: “Polling is going on absolutely peacefully. The only hindrances are the petitioners and the intervenors.”There was no immediate reaction on Thursday from the BJP or even the Election Commission of India regarding opposition parties’ allegations.