EC special observers ask Tripura officials to take foolproof steps for Feb 16 polls

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Agartala, Jan 24, 2023, IANS

Three special observers of the Election Commission (EC) on Tuesday asked officials in Tripura to take foolproof steps to hold the February 16 Assembly polls in a free, fair and transparent manner.

The observers, who arrived in Agartala on Monday, held meetings on Tuesday with senior civil and police officials.

On Tuesday afternoon, they will hold meeting via video conferencing with District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police of the state's eight districts.

Some political parties, including the main opposition CPI-M led Left Front, are trying to meet the observers to apprise them about the latest pre-poll scenario.

The observers are Yogendra Tripathy, retired IAS officer of Karnataka cadre; Vivek Johri, former Director General of Police of Madhya Pradesh; and B. Murali Kumar, IRS officer, who was special observer in the Assembly elections of Gujarat (2022) and West Bengal (2021).

After Tripura, the observers will proceed to another poll-bound state Meghalaya, where elections will be held on February 27.

Besides the special observers, the EC has also appointed five other categories of observers -- general, police, expenditure, micro and counting.

The poll panel has so far deployed around 200 companies of Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) in Tripura and more CAPF comprising Assam Rifles, Border Security Force, Central Reserve Police Force, Central Industrial Security Force companies are expected to arrive in the state.

"The flag marches by the CAPF have already started since the second week of this month to ensure confidence building among the political workers for campaigning and among the citizens to cast their votes freely without any fear. The security forces are deployed well before the poll process so that they get familiar with the locality. Local police should extend necessary cooperation to the CAPF," an EC official said.

The poll body on January 19 ordered an inquiry into attacks on a Congress bike rally in Majlishpur Assembly constituency in West Tripura district and next day asked the state government to suspend a Sub-Divisional Police Officer and remove two Officer-in-Charge of two police stations.