Cong,CPI(M) demand suspension of poll in Tamulpur seat after BPF candidate joins BJP

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(Eds: Adds inputs) Guwahati, Apr 4 (PTI) With the Election Commission decision yet to come on Bodoland Peoples Front candidate Rangja Khungur Basumatary joining BJP in the middle of the ongoing polls, opposition Congress and CPI(M) have demanded suspension of election in Tamulpur constituency in the third phase on April 6.

Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora personally heard the matter on Saturday in the presence of returning officer for the constituency Sanjiv Sarma, but no decision has been announced so far, sources in the poll panel told PTI.

BPF, an electoral ally of Congress, had lodged a complaint with the EC after its candidate from the Tamulpur assembly segment in Baksa district of the Bodoland Territorial Region had joined the BJP on April 1.

After Congress, its Grand Alliance partner CPI(M) on Sunday also sought suspension of voting on Tuesday in Tamulpur.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had addressed a rally in Tamulpur the previous day in favour of the BJP's ally UPPL candidate on the seat Leho Ram Bodo.

Following the development, which was not seen before as per the officials, the opposition parties accused the BJP of indulging in the pre-poll 'horse-trading'.

In a complaint submitted to the chief electoral officer here on Saturday night, Assam Congress chief Ripun Bora urged him to take appropriate action against Basumatary.

He also requested the poll panel to 'debar and disqualify' Assam minister and senior BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma from contesting the assembly elections this time, in view of his 'act of conspiring' against the Congress and its alliance partner during the polls.

Sarma is contesting from the Jalukbari constituency which will go to poll on April 6.

Basumatary had reportedly gone missing for two days and at around midnight on March 31, Sarma had said on Twitter that he met the BPF's Tamulpur constituency candidate who would join the BJP.

'It is evident that there has been a gross violation of the Election Commission of India's model code of conduct as well as several provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

'Under such circumstances, I request your honour to take prompt and necessary action against Basumatary and Himanta Biswa Sarma. I further request you to stop the election process in Tamulpur constituency immediately,' Bora said.

In his party's representation to the CEO, the Congress Rajya Sabha MP said, 'Himanta Biswa Sarma should also be debarred and disqualified from contesting in the Assembly Election, 2021 in view of his above stated act of promoting and conspiring against Congress and grand alliance...' Meanwhile, BPF chief Hagrama Mohilary appealed to people of the Tamulpur seat to vote on the symbol of his party.

Basumatary told a local TV channel that he had decided to quit the BPF as the party did not lend any helping hand to him to fund his campaign.

The BPF candidate had said he couldn't withdraw himself from the contest now due to technical issues, but he would be supporting BJP's ally United People's Party Liberal (UPPL) nominee Leho Ram Boro in the seat.

Echoing views of his Grand Alliance partner Congress, CPI (M) Assam secretary Debeen Bhattacharya said at a press conference Sunday that such an incident has never been seen in Indian politics.

'On the basis of money power, BJP wants to win the election. They know that people have rejected them. So, we demand that electuon in Tamulpur constituency be suspended,' he said.

The first phase of the Assam assembly elections was held on March 27, followed by second phase on April 1 and finally the third round of voting will take place in 40 constiruencies on April 6. PTI TR BDC SNS SNS