The State Election Commission of Tripura is all charged up to conduct a free and fair Assembly election polling of which will be conducted on February 18 next as announced by the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Thursday. Talking to media immediately after the official announcement, the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sriram Tarikanta said the state machinery is ready for the whole exercise to ensure a clean election.
Earlier, deputy Election Commissioner Sudip Jain had reviewed the poll preparedness in the State. During his two-day visit to the north-eastern state, Jain held a series of meetings with the district magistrates of South and Gomati district at Santir Bazar. This was revealed by the CEO while briefing the media in the Civil Secretariat at Agartala on Thursday.
The deputy election Commissioner will also be reviewing poll preparedness of all the districts to ensure free and fair elections in the State that is bound to witness a direct clash between the ruling Left Front and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a first of its kind in the country.
The CEO further said all efforts are being made from the state machinery to ensure transparency in service voters as well postal ballots (polling personnel) as ‘they will cast their votes electronically’.
The CEO also apprised the media that the Election Commission will send sufficient number of general observers, expenditure observer and security observers to monitor the election process.
“Tripura is expecting around 300 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) for election purpose. The main priority will be to man each polling booth by CAPFs as demanded by the political parties”, he added.
Some of the companies have already arrived in the State and security beefed up in the entire State, especially along the international border.
There will be static surveillance team and web casting of polling process as much as possible to maintain transparency, he said, adding that valid voters will get time to include their names till January 31, the last date for filing of nomination papers.
Meanwhile, the political parties of the State have welcomed the election schedule and said are all geared up to accept the people’s mandate on the big day.
According to the schedule announced, polling in the State will be held on February 18. Date of gazette notification for the polls will be done by the Election Commission on January 24 while the process of filing nomination will be completed between January 24 and 31.
This will be followed by the scrutiny of nominations on February 1 while the last date for withdrawing nomination will be February 3. While the counting will be held on March 3, the entire election process will be completed by March 5, within two days of the counting of polled EVMs.