Two days after the Election Commission announced two Assembly bypolls in Tripura, Chief Electoral Officer Puneet Agrawal has said the law and order situation was assessed with help from police, the Border Security Force and other agencies to identify sensitive areas and that central forces will be deployed at polling booths.
“All efforts are being taken to ensure a free, fair and peaceful bypolls. If there are any incidents of violation such as large gatherings of people that may create problems, action will be taken. Security assessment has been on inside and outside the polling stations. We don’t feel any violations will be made. We are prepared,” Agarwal said Thursday. “We have estimated and sent central armed police force requirements to the Election Commission. Central security forces will be dispatched and they will be in charge of area domination, security maintenance etc.”.
The bypolls, slated for September 5, were necessitated by the death of Boxanagar MLA Samsul Haque (CPM) and Dhanpur MLA Pratima Bhowmik’s resignation. Bhowmik is now Union minister of state for social justice and empowerment.
While the model code of conduct came into effect with the commission’s announcement of the bypolls on Tuesday, the nomination process started Thursday. Candidates can file their nominations till August 17. The nomination papers will be scrutinised on August 18 and can be withdrawn till August 21. The counting of votes will take place on September 8.
As many as 93,234 voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in the polls—43,087 in Boxanagar and 50,147 in Dhanpur. The electorates include 160 service voters and 1,217 veterans aged above 80, who can vote from their homes by using postal ballots. There will be 51 polling stations in Boxanagar and 59 in Dhanpur.
Daily reports on law and order are being collected and election expenditure as well as media are being monitored to ensure a smooth poll process, officials said, adding that control rooms had been set up for instant grievance registration.
Prohibitory orders under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure have been issued in some areas, Agrawal said. He said the commission was working to prevent infiltration and unauthorised entry of people from Bangladesh, with which the state shares an 856-km border on three sides.