Agartala, May 17 (GCCurrentAffairs) The Election Commission of India (ECI) last night in a meeting with Congress delegation made it clear that there is no scope of holding a fresh poll in West Tripura parliamentary constituency, as Special Observer Vinod Zutshi has overruled the initial report of Returning Officer (RO).
Five days after polling on April 11 last, the then RO of West Tripura constituency Dr Sandeep M Mahatme in a report had stated that election process was vitiated in 433 polling stations out of 1679. He mentioned that as many as 65 booths polling officials had reported irregularities during the election while 368 booths did not have the video footage of less than nine hours.
According to the report, the ECI had mandated 100 per cent webcasting and videography of total polling hours of polling, which was not less than 10 hours as per the voting schedule of ECI. But absent of more than one-hour video record followed by the allegation of large scale booth capturing and rigging by the oppositions became a critical issue for RO.
In all 368 booths, RO found either camera did not placed properly or it was destroyed during the polling but these were reported neither by presiding officers nor by micro observers. While reviewing the video footage and reports of presiding officers and micro observers, RO was convinced that polling officials had not reported the alleged malpractices during polling properly and accordingly FIRs have been lodged against many of them and disciplinary proceedings were drawn.
Based on the report of Dr Mahatme, Congress moved to ECI and later to Supreme Court seeking fresh poll in West Tripura. Meantime, based on the report of all concerns including RO, CEO, Observers and Special Observers, ECI held repoll in 168 booths, which could not satisfy Congress and CPI (M).
While CPI (M) candidate Shankar Prasad Datta filed a writ to the high court of Tripura with the advice of the Supreme Court, Congress party is waiting for the call of hearing in the apex court. Meantime, ECI summoned Congress delegation for holding talks on their demand of fresh poll yesterday at New Delhi.
The Congress team comprises with Ahmed Patel, Jairam Ramesh, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Rajeev Shukla and Tripura PCC President Pradyot Kishore Debbarman met ECI last evening. TPCC leaders said here today it has been told to them that Special Observer Vinod Zutshi overruled the initial report for repolling in 433 booths and recommended for 168 booths by which ECI held repoll.
The Congress, however, demanded to get the report of a special observer, so that it can be challenged in the Supreme Court, as according to them the special observer did not follow the proper process and ground report.
TPCC President Pradyot Kishore Debbarman told media, “’I may be new but as long as I am the Congress President, we will not give up the fight for justice. Our case is precise and very different from CPI (M) and we will be fought at the end until getting a satisfactory result. If we leave up here, it would be a precedent of destroying democracy by the party in power.”