The Tripura State Election Commission on Saturday announced by-elections to the 3,386 vacant seats of three-tier gram panchayats on September 30.
“The by-elections to the 3,386 vacant seats of gram panchayats, panchayat samities and zilla parishads would be held on September 30. Counting of votes would be done on October 3,” Tripura State Election Commissioner G. Kameswara Rao told the media.
“The by-elections were necessitated mostly due to the resignations and death of the elected representatives. The notification of the by-polls would be issued on September 4,” he said.
Of the 3,386 vacant seats in the three-tier local rural bodies, where by-elections would be held, 3,207 seats in gram panchayats followed by 161 seats in panchayat samities and 18 seats in zilla parishads.
Reacting to the announcements of the by-elections to the local rural bodies, opposition Communist Party of India-Marxists (CPI-M) and Congress criticised the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party for “forcible resignations of the elected representatives belonging to opposition parties.”
“Around 96 per cent of the total elected representatives of CPI-M and other non-BJP parties were forced to resign following BJP leaders’ and workers’ threat after the saffron party-led coalition government assumed office in March,” CPI-M central committee member Bijan Dhar told the media.
BJP leaders denied the allegations, saying that most of the elected representatives either resigned on their own or CPI-M itself asked their them to resign.
“In most cases, the CPI-M asked their elected representatives in the three-tier gram panchayats to resign to create a deadlock in the development works in rural areas to put the BJP government in an awkward position,” BJP spokesman Mrinal Kanti Deb said.
The last panchayat elections were held in June 2014 and polling is due in June 2019.