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As 'Voter Turnout Exceeds 100%', Calls for Fresh Polling Surface in Tripura West Lok Sabha Seat

The Wire Staff
Apr 24, 2024
Citing 'official' data, opposition CPI (M) and Congress expressed concern over some polling stations recording voter turnout at 105.30%, 109.09 %, and 100.5%.

New Delhi: The opposition in Tripura has demanded fresh polling in the West Tripura parliamentary constituency and the Ramnagar assembly constituency, on the allegations that the voter turnout in certain polling stations, based on “official” data, showed more than 100%.

According to CPI (M) Tripura secretary, Jitendra Chaudhary, data sourced from the office of the returning officer showed that turnouts in part 44 of the Majlishpur segment stood at 105.30%, 100.15% in part 25 of the Khayerpur segment, 98.80% in part of 44 of the Khayerpur segment, and 109.09 % in part 38 of the Mohanpur segment.

“The above records unequivocally vindicate that, the election to West Tripura Parliamentary Constituency and the by-election to Ramnagar assembly constituency, which is a part of the same parliamentary constituency, were not held in a free, fair and normal manner. Such mismatched polling percentage may happen only when the booths are captured and completely rigged in an organized manner,” Chaudhary wrote to chief election commissioner Rajiv Kumar on Monday, according to the Indian Express.

He went on to add that the data was sourced from polling station-wise turnout reports made available to his party by the returning officer’s office. He added that while polling station-wise data, which reflects the presiding officer’s report to the returning officer, is not readily available to the public, it can be accessed on demand.

Meanwhile, returning officer Vishal Kumar maintained that polling was held in a “free and fair manner”, according to a press release he issued. As regards higher than the maximum turnout possible in the 10/44 Majilishpur assembly segment, he said, it was due to officials involved in the election duty casting their vote at the said polling station, although their votes were not registered there.

The total number of votes assigned for the particular station, he said, was 545, against which 498 votes were cast. As a result, the turnout stood at 91.47%. However, an additional 12.48% was recorded at the station, as a number of officials on election duty cast there, given that it was the closest to ARO (assistant returning officer) headquarters.

He also added that the media had wrongly reported on turnout at 5/44 Lembuchara SB school (in 5 Khayerpur assignment ), based on “hearsay”, as 99.15% as against 81.63%.

The official said, “The issue raised in the complaint was scrutinised during the scrutiny in the presence of representatives of all political parties on 20.4.2024. Such reports by certain media houses are based on insufficient evidence and knowledge.”

Tripura (West) Lok Sabha segment went to polls in the first phase on April 19 along with a byelection to Ramnagar legislative segment.

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