Manik Sarkar claims the poll panel has become ‘inactive’ under the current dispensation resulting in an ‘uneven ground’ for the Opposition parties
Agartala, Dec 19 (PTI): Leader of the Opposition in the Tripura Assembly Manik Sarkar on Monday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow the Election Commission of India (ECI) to function ‘impartially’ in Tripura, where Assembly polls are due early next year.
The poll panel has become ‘inactive’ under the current dispensation resulting in an ‘uneven ground’ for the Opposition parties, the former chief minister claimed at a CPI(M) women’s wing rally here.
“If you have respect for democracy, allow the ECI to function impartially and fairly to create a level playing ground for the ruling party as well Opposition parties,” Sarkar said.
Referring to the PM’s public meeting at Swami Vivekananda stadium here on Sunday, he said, “You will make a mistake if you think your 24-minute speech will be enough for the BJP to retain power for the second term in the State. You made the speech based on faulty information provided by your friends here”.
Asserting that Assembly election determines the formation and collapse of a Government, the former chief minister claimed people who are ‘fuming’ over the performance of the BJP Government, are preparing themselves in each household to ‘oust’ the present Government.
The BJP-IPFT combine won the Tripura Assembly election in 2018, ending 25 years rule of the CPI(M)-led Left Front. The saffron party won 35 seats on its own while its ally, the IPFT, was victorious in 8 seats.
“Ask BJP leadership in the State to stop looting of votes as was witnessed in three elections- Panchayat, Lok Sabha and by-election in four Assembly seats. Any attempt to prevent the electors from exercising their democratic rights will be resisted by people. Ensure people’s democratic rights,” the senior CPI(M) leader said.
CPI (M) politburo member, Brinda Karat, who also addressed the rally, criticised the Narendra Modi Government for attacking the “very foundation of secular democracy”.
“We had witnessed Emergency but never saw such a scale of attack on the country’s parliamentary democracy. The Supreme Court had to seek an explanation from the Government on how the Election commissioner was appointed,” she said.
The apex court in November had questioned the ‘haste’ and ‘tearing hurry’ in appointing Arun Goel as Election commissioner.
Goel’s appointment as an EC came under scrutiny by the top court which had sought from the Centre the original records pertaining to his appointment for perusal, saying it wanted to know whether there was any ‘hanky panky’.
Reacting to Sarkar’s remarks, Information and Cultural Affairs (ICA) minister Sushanta Chowdhury said no Government, Prime Minister or chief minister can influence the Election Commission because it is an independent body.
“His view on the matter is the reflection of utter frustration fearing impending defeat in the 2023 Assembly election. The people had immersed the Communists in the 2018 Assembly election and this time too they will face a similar fate”, he claimed.