Tripura government on November 18 suspended the elections to urban local bodies in the state till February 2021, citing COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for the decision.
The state government also extended the tenure of administrator in Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council for another six months.
The notification regarding Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council said: “Now, therefore, I, Ramesh Bais, Governor of Tripura, in the exercise of my powers as provided in the subparagraph 2 of paragraph 16 read with paragraph 20 BB of the sixth schedule of the Constitution of India, hereby direct that all functions and powers vested in and exercisable by the district council are assumed by me and I also declare that these functions and powers exercisable by GK Rao on my behalf for a further period of not exceeding six months unless terminated earlier or extended.”
On the other hand, the State Election Commission in a separate notification deferred polls to urban local bodies till February 27, 2021.
According to a government press release, the preparation of the Urban Development department has been disrupted following COVID-19 pandemic.
Urban bodies polls: Opposition slams Tripura government
The opposition parties hit out at the state government for the notifications and termed it “undemocratic”.
Criticizing the move, CPI-M said, while elections are being conducted throughout the country, there was no point to postpone the polls to ADC. They pointed out that the polls to Bodoland Territorial Council have been declared at neighbouring Assam and in Tripura; the ruling forces are preventing the polls which are against the democratic spirit.
The party added that suspension of urban bodies polls was indicative about the nervousness of the BJP-IPFT government in Tripura, as the state government lost the support of the people and if the elections are held, they will face humiliating defeat.
The Congress has also opposed the decisions and said: “In 33 months rule of Biplab Kumar Deb, the government became unpopular and in ADC, BJP would not be able to field candidates and in Municipal elections, their candidate will forfeit the deposit, as the government appeared to be anti-people and highly corrupt.”
The tribal-based opposition INPT demanded the Tripura government withdraw the notifications and hold the elections to ADC and urban bodies immediately if BJP-IPFT has minimum faith on democracy. The party further stated: “A party cannot remain in power for long without holding elections to democratic institutions like urban bodies and it would set a bad precedence.”
Meanwhile, BJP rubbished the allegations and said: “The administration had started the process of elections to ADC and Municipal bodies but due to COVID-19 everything was stopped for the past six months. The extension of terms of Governor’s rule in ADC and suspension of poll till February is just to finish the preparation of holding elections.”