Parties welcome announcement of Tripura polls

Agartala, Jan 11 (IANS) Political parties Friday welcomed the Election Commission's announcement of holding elections to the 60-seat Tripura assembly in February.

Tripura's ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) spokesperson Gautam Das said: "The Congress has tried to delay elections aiming promulgation of president's rule in the state."

"The Congress is scared of assembly elections as it would suffer a humiliating defeat. That's why the party wants to come to power through the back door as it did in 1988," Das told reporters after the EC's announcement in New Delhi.

Demanding appropriate actions against terrorists, Das said: "Before every elections in Tripura, separatist outfits have stepped up violent activities. The extremists work in favour of the Congress."

The CPI-M and other Left parties had earlier demanded assembly elections in Tripura in mid-February.

The main opposition Congress strongly denied the CPI-M's charges.

"We have always demanded assembly election on time," Congress leader Ratan Lal Nath told IANS over phone from New Delhi. "We welcome the EC's announcement to hold elections in Tripura."

Tripura, the country's sole Left-ruled state, will go to the polls Feb 14 to elect its new state assembly. Meghalaya and Nagaland will have polling Feb 23.

Results of all three states' assembly polls will be announced Feb 28, Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath announced in New Delhi Friday.

The assemblies in Meghalaya, Tripura and Nagaland have 60 seats each. Their five-year terms expire March 10, March 16 and March 26 respectively.

The final electoral rolls of Tripura will be published Saturday after about a four-month-long summary revision of the voters list.

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