From Our Correspondent
AGARTALA | February 17, 2018
Over two hours after campaign for Tripura’s coming assembly polls ended, Assam Minister of State for Power Pallab Lochan Das was found this evening at Gandacherra in Dhalai district, 115 Km from here. The minister, who was supposed to leave the state before campaign concluded at 4 PM as per ECI guidelines, was reportedly taken to the local police station and later pushed back to Assam.
Speaking to this correspondent, Superintendent of Police (Control) Pradip De denied having any official confirmation of the incident but said he had ‘heard’ of such a report.
The ruling CPIM has already lodged a complaint with the Election Commission. In a letter this evening, CPIM state secretary and Left Front convener Bijan Dhar sought ‘stringent punishment’ for the Assam minister.
The communist party earlier lodged complaint with the ECI and state electoral authority about presence of ‘outsiders’ from Assam and other states who, the party said, could disturb law and order situation in poll-bound Tripura and affect peaceful polls.
Asked about the issue, BJP spokesperson Ashok Sinha admitted a ‘BJP leader and Assam minister was found at Gandacherra after poll campaign period was over’. He said Tripura Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sriram Taranikanti didn’t provide them latest guidelines for political workers’ presence in constituency areas after conclusion of campaign. He added that the Assam minister was ‘intending to return’ on Saturday morning.
As per Election Commission’s 2009 guidelines, political functionaries would have to leave after campaign period ends except voters of respective assembly constituencies. The guideline directs that “all such functionaries leave the constituency immediately after the campaign period is over”. However, exception is provided for one leader from every registered political party who would be ‘in-charge’ of the said party.