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EC Turns Down Plea to postpone Tamulpur Polls

The Election Commission turned down the plea made by the BPF and the Congress to postpone the polling in Tamulpur constituency of Assam.

Election Commission of India

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  5 April 2021 6:53 AM GMT

GUWAHATI: The Election Commission on Sunday turned down the plea made by the BPF and the Congress to postpone the polling in Tamulpur constituency of Assam after Bodoland People's Front BPF candidate Rangja Khungur Basumatary joined the Bharatiya Janata Party BJP, ahead of the poll day.

The Congress party and the BPF has earlier demanded the suspension of the polls in the constituency after the BPF candidate switched parties.

While urging to postpone the polling the parties demanded 'appropriate action' against Basumatary and Assam Cabinet Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and further requested the commission to stop the election process in Tamulpur constituency immediately.

The BPF, a Congress ally in the Assam elections has also lodged a complaint with the EC following the defection of Basumatary to BJP on April 1 'under inducement'.

Basumatary earlier claimed that he had decided to quit the BPF as the party did not lend any helping hand to him to fund his campaign. Reportedly, BPF chief Hagrama Mohiliary also moved the Supreme Court on the matter on Sunday.

Meanwhile the Commission while refraining from intervening in the matter at this juncture of polling stated that Basumatary has been a member of the BPF till the last withdrawal of nominations and he categorically said he had joined the BJP "without any pressure from any quarter".

As per report, the EC in its reply to Congress and BPF said that it has held a video conference with Basumatary in the presence of the returning officer of Tamulpur constituency to hear his views, where he stated, "When the campaigning process was on, I realised that it was not possible to continue to fight in the elections. Hence, I willingly, without any pressure from any quarter, joined the BJP. I have not received any notice or letter from the BPF in connection with joining the BJP."

The BPF candidate who is not eligible to withdraw himself from the contest now would be supporting BJP's ally UPPL nominee Leho Ram Boro in the seat.

The election in Tamulpur will be held on April 6 in the third and last phase of the Assam assembly polls.

The Election Commission (EC) further said it was not provided with any documentary evidence to suggest that Basumatary joined the BJP or that he was removed from the BPF when it heard the matter.

"At this stage, an election can be adjourned or a recognised political party is allowed to change its candidate only in event of the death of a candidate of that recognised political party, it said citing Section 52 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951," stated EC.

"The complaint has been examined in the context of prevailing circumstances and all the materials and documents available on record and on the basis of the same, the commission is of the considered view that under the extant statuary provisions, the matter does not warrant any intervention at this juncture," the EC said in its reply.

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