Congress alleges misdistribution of postal ballots in Tripura

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Agartala, Mar 3 (UNI) The Opposition Congress in Tripura has accused the state poll panel of misdistributing postal ballots in the just concluded Assembly elections and demanded an enquiry into the entire procedure.

Tripura Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) president and former Chief Minister Samir Ranjan Barman alleged that the authorities had issued postal ballots for the employees who were not involved in the election process and other sections of civil society.

''A large number of such cases were reported from different constituencies in West Tripura and Dhalai districts where the prospects of the Left Front candidates are bleak,'' Mr Barman claimed, adding that a section of election officials had been used by the ruling party to ensure their victory in the polls.

He also expressed dissatisfaction over the announcement of the Election Commission of India (ECI) that the postal ballots would be accepted till the commencement of counting on March 7.

Meanwhile, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Dr G S G Ayyangar said the ECI had received complaints from the Opposition parties on the alleged bungling in distribution and receipt of postal ballots in various parts of the state and assured that the Commission would look into all aspects related to the Assembly elections, adding that Observers had been camping in the state to oversee the whole election process.

He said the postal ballots were taking place in accordance with the Commission's guidelines and it would be valid before the beginning of counting.

Meanwhile, INPT general secretary Rabindra Debbarma lodged a specific complaint with the ECI that more postal ballots were issued in Raima Valley constituency than required.

He said around 900 postal ballots were issued against the actual requirement of 390 postal ballots under Raima Valley constituency in Dhalai district.

However, official sources here said the state election department had received 28,761 applications seeking postal ballots of which 27,027 ballots were issued by the Returning Officers and a total of 1,734 voters under postal ballot category could not exercise their franchise due to error in filling up applications.

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