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BJP govt in Tripura jolts after HC directs to hold VC poll before assembly

The state government had to hold ADC elections in May last year but did not accept the demand for VC polls.

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Agartala: The BJP-led government in Tripura has received a setback in the high court, which on Tuesday ordered the State Election Commission to complete the election of Village Committees (VC) under the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (ADC) by November this year.

Tripura government had been refusing to hold the election to 587 VCs taking the plea of Covid19, the terms of which lapsed in March last year. Meantime, following the direction of the high court, the state government had to hold ADC elections in May last year but did not accept the demand for VC polls.

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The division bench of the high court of Tripura comprising Chief Justice Indrajit Mohanty and Justice S G Chattopadhyay after hearing the PIL filed by two ADC residents – Rajesh Debbarma and Dahlia Debbarma directed the state election commission to complete the entire election process by November.

However, the court accepted the arguments of Advocate General Sasanka Sekhar De and government advocate Debalaya Bhattacharjee that a period of 137 days will be required for revision of electoral rolls including the resettled displaced Brus in the state, and complete other preparatory works for the polls will have to be held preferably within the first week of November this year.

The petitioners pointed out that the five-year term of the VCs had expired on March 7 last year while on the very next day administrative committees had been constituted by the state government to substitute the function of the elected VCs, which has been frustrating the fundamental spirit of the rule of grassroots and development work on public consensus.

The ruling TIPRA Motha of ADC has welcomed the decision and said, “Soon after BJP-led government came to power, they dismantled the democratic spirit of the constitutional bodies including three-tire panchayats and autonomous district council. The government was not in favor of holding the ADC election, which expired in 2020, and finally, they had to do it after HC directed and lost.”

In the case of VC elections, the government had adopted the same tactics and forced us to move high court seeking its intervention, alleged TIPRA Motha legal team member and senior leader Antony Debbarma adding although VC election would be held two months before the assembly elections following court’s direction and might create pressure on the preparation of assembly poll, TIPRA even then wants to hold it fast.

However, the ruling BJP argued, “The VC election was held up because of Covid19 and the state government didn’t have any intention to disrupt the election process. The party wants to hold the election and certainly, the government would take all steps to comply with the court order.”

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