Agartala: To achieve the mission of ‘zero poll violence’, Chief Electoral Officer Kiran Gitte on Monday notified dedicated a separate land phone, mobile, and WhatsApp numbers for each of the 60 assembly constituencies and urged the voters to contact on the day of the poll if anybody faces any sort of problem in the polling process.
With the apprehension of preventing the voters from exercising their franchise by the ruling BJP cadres like in all five major elections in Tripura during the last five years, opposition parties demanded Election Commission of India (ECI) to ensure each of the voters cast their choice.
“Voters should come out from the house fearlessly in a jubilant mood and if any kind of problem including intimidation or threat, they receive while going to the polling station, they inform their location and kind of problem in brief either over the phone or by WhatsApp message we shall reach the spot at the quickest possible time and deal with the situation as per law,” Gitte said.
He pointed out that the commission has designated field-level police officers for each of the polling booths along with a civil service officer for round-the-clock vigilance, especially on the day of the poll. Whoever commits an offense of booth capturing, coercing, intimidating, or threatening directly or indirectly any elector and preventing him from going to the polling station to cast his vote strong action will be taken against the offender under Section 35 A (C) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
“The offender shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with fine, and where such offense is committed by a person in the service of the Government, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than three years but which may extend to five years and with fine,” Gitte warned.
He said ECI has ensured a level playing field for all the contesting parties, and police have been arresting the trouble mongers and criminals without considering their party affiliation, and incidents of violence have reduced substantially and ECI working down it to zero by the next two days, so that polling would be held in an ideal condition.
As per the mandatory provision of law, the 72-hour protocol started on Monday across the state, as the election is going to be held on Thursday. According to the protocol, checking started at hotels, guesthouses, Dharamshala, and weddings, because no person who is not a voter can stay in the respective polling station 48 hours before the election, the CEO said.
“India-Bangladesh international border, Assam, Mizoram borders have been sealed, motorbike rallies are not being allowed and candidates are to submit their election expenditure accounts to the Observer by Monday,” CEO stated, adding that all vocal campaigns will be ended on Tuesday afternoon.
“The person whose name is not on the voter list should leave the concerned area by Tuesday evening, not more than five people can travel together, and candidates can use three vehicles on election day but not for carrying voters,” he underlined.
The Chief Electoral Officer on Sunday said around 8,500 people with Disability and 80+ years voters exercised their democratic through ballot papers from February 9 to 11. Around 56,000 polling and security personnel and other staff associated with the elections have cast their votes through postal ballots. Sunday was the last day for postal ballot voting.