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Weeks before counting, Election Commission sacks Returning Officer from West Tripura seat

Congress welcomed the decision and said, “We welcome this stand of the ECI. Of late, they have taken our genuine demands into cognizance. However, we shall hope for an impartial officer to be put in charge of RO at East Tripura seat”.

Weeks before counting for the Lok Sabha elections, the Election Commission removed District Magistrate of West Tripura district Sandeep Namdeo Mahatme from his post of Returning Officer (RO) of West Tripura Lok Sabha constituency on Thursday.

The decision came in the wake of demands from opposition CPI (M) and Congress parties to remove Mahatme from the office of RO. The opposition parties alleged that Mahatme’s role was not impartial during polling at West Tripura seat held on April 11. The opposition parties also stated that largescale violence and poll rigging took place under his watch.

A letter from ECI secretary Arvind Anand to Chief Electoral Officer Sriram Taranikanti Thursday informed that Sandeep Mahatme was “relieved and shall not be given any election related posting”.

The Commission also instructed Government of Tripura to send a panel of officials for posting as District Magistrate and, by virtue of post as District Election Officer of Dhalai district, by 5 pm today.

Congress welcomed the decision and said, “We welcome this stand of the ECI. Of late, they have taken our genuine demands into cognizance. However, we shall hope for an impartial officer to be put in charge of RO at East Tripura seat”.

CPI(M) central committee member and State Left Front convener Bijan Dhar also welcomed the decision to remove Sandeep Mahatme from the office of RO in West Tripura constituency and said that although the decision came late but it recognised CPI(M)’s allegation that widespread poll rigging was held during polling in the seat.

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