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ECI to take votes of octogenarians at home in Tripura

The central paramilitary forces will comprise CRPF and BSF jawans drawn from other states and they will work alongside state police and TSR jawans.

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Agartala: The election commission of India (ECI) has announced to facilitate voting at home for the octogenarians and physically challenged electorates in the upcoming by-election to four seats of the Tripura assembly slated on June 23 next.

The election officials here on Friday said that ECI for the first time introduced postal ballots at home for the electorates who are over 80 years or can’t move due to old age complications and especially able persons. The poll officials will visit the homes of these categories of voters and obtain their votes by postal ballots.

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“The officials will be accompanied by polling agents of political parties to prevent any dubious attempt to coerce the voters to cast ballots in favor of any party. However, the officers and employees engaged in conducting voting will go from house to house to collect votes after giving information of their arrival in advance,” the poll officials said.

The election commission has issued a detailed circular in this regard and preparation is on to conduct the voting as per guidelines of the commission referring to Section 171-B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which laid anyone trying to influence the voting by paying money, by other gratifications or by coercion will be punishable.

Similarly, according to Section 171-C of IPC anyone trying to obtain a vote by threat, coercion or attack will be punishable by one year’s imprisonment, penalty, or both.

Flying squads have been constituted to monitor illegal payment of bribes or receipt of them by vote-seekers and vote-givers and they will move around secretly to keep watch over the process of electioneering and activities of political parties and candidates, the notification stated.

The commission notified two separate toll-free numbers for registering complaints against any threat, intimidation and coercion, and illegal gratifications of voters, which would continue to be active round the clock till June 23 night. This is also, for the first time election observers have got engaged in voters’ education programs and directly interacted with the voters to hold the election free and fair.

Meanwhile, the state election authority has sought as many as 15 companies of central paramilitary forces to maintain law and order and to ensure free and fair polling in the upcoming by-elections. The central paramilitary forces will comprise CRPF and BSF jawans drawn from other states and they will work alongside state police and TSR jawans.

All the opposition parties have expressed fears of rigging and electoral malpractices by the ruling BJP that had reduced the earlier elections to Panchayat, Loksabha, and Civic bodies to a farce through organized rigging and violence by deploying armed mafia elements and anti-socials and for by-poll, they demanded the deployment of central force at least five days ahead of the polling.

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