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4-day visit of ECI team to poll-bound NE states beginning Jan 11 from Tripura

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Agartala: A 16-member ECI team headed by Chief Election Commissioner of India Rajiv Kumar would start their four-day visit of poll-bound states of Northeast from Tripura on January 11 next to review the preparedness for the ensuing assembly elections, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Tripura Kiran Gitte said.

The team comprises three election commissioners and 13 other officials who will arrive here on January 11 to hold meetings with the political parties, other stakeholders, and the election officials separately and they are likely to visit some spots to see the poll arrangements in the city before leaving for Shillong on January 12.

According to report, ECI delegation would hold similar meetings with the parties and officials of Meghalaya on January 13, and on January 14 the team is scheduled to move to Nagaland to review the election preparation.

After returning to Delhi, the commission is expected to announce the election schedule for Tripura, Meghalaya, and Nagaland, which are slated for next month.

The ECI has been planning to hold the elections before the second week of February, as CBSE has already announced its examination schedule for Class X and XII from Feb 15.

Besides setting up polling booths, the state government has made arrangements for the lodging of Central Armed Paramilitary Forces (CAPFs) in the schools where examinations would also be held. Therefore, at least two days ahead of the exam, the schools have to be free, said a senior poll official here.

He said, 50 companies of CAPFs have already arrived in the state on December 28 last, and another 50 companies are already on the way and they would arrive in the next few days by a special train.

Although 100 companies of central force would be available for confidence-building measures, ECI would send more forces to Tripura during the election if required to make it free, fair and peaceful.

Meanwhile, the CEO said all necessary arrangements were being put in place to ensure zero violence in the election process and raise the polling turnout in the assembly election.

In 2018 assembly polls, as many as 370 complaints of poll violence were lodged, which was higher in terms of any small state like Tripura and it showed a dismal state of affairs in the state. A Mission Zero Poll Violence has been launched.

Every police station would make its own strategy, depending upon their respective ground-level inputs to ensure 100 violence-free elections, CEO Gitte said, adding that ECI steps up to improve in 929 polling stations across the state to improve the turnout in the next assembly elections, which was less than 88 per cent.

As part of the awareness generation step to hold a free, fair, and peaceful election, Gitte said, the state election authority has organized the Rangoli competition for every household on April 14, to mark Makar Sankranti, which will be evaluated by the juries and awards would be given to the winners in every assembly constituency.

There are 28,13,478 voters – 14,14,576 males, 13,98,825 females, and 77 third genders in the final electoral roll of Tripura where service voters were enrolled 10,344. There are 38,039 voters in 80+ age groups and 679 voters in above 100+ age groups, Gitte said adding that as many as 65,044 voters have been registered between the age group of 18-19 years in which 34,704 are male, 30,328 are female and 12 are in the third gender.

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