Agartala, Sept 16: Six months after its unprecedented victory in the assembly elections held in Tripura, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has further consolidated its strength in the state, winning 96 per cent of the seats unopposed in the upcoming panchayat bypolls.
In the by-elections, scheduled on September 30, a total of 3,207 Gram Panchayat seats, 161 Panchayat Samiti seats and 18 Zilla Parishads seats were set to be contested.
The bypolls were necessitated due to mass resignation of incumbent occupants of the posts affiliated to the Left.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has accused the BJP of "trampling democracy" in the state, claiming that Opposition candidates were not allowed to file their nominations in 28 of the 35 poll-bound blocks.
Almost all parties including the ruling BJP's junior partner, the Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT), has been demanding rescheduling of the September 30 Panchayat elections to ensure participation of all parties.
Rubbishing the opposition parties' allegations, state BJP spokesman Mrinal Kanti Deb said the opposition parties, especially the CPI-M, could not find suitable candidates for the Gram Panchayat elections and most people are also not interested to contest the elections in Tripura on behalf of the Left parties and the Congress.
Senior CPI(M) leader Gautam Das led a delegation of Opposition parties to the SEC office earlier in the week, seeking the deferment of polls as the "atmosphere is not conducive to hold elections".
"We have been demanding free and fair elections but the state government and the SEC have failed to keep the situation conducive for conducting a smooth election," the Left leader said.
Similar charges were levelled by the Opposition parties in West Bengal, where panchayat elections were held in May this year. The ruling Trinamool Congress was declared winner unopposed in 33 per cent of the near 54,000 local body seats contested.
(With agency inputs)