Border polling may hit Bru voters: Forum

From Our Special Correspondent

GUWAHATI: The Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples’ Forum on Tuesday expressed its reservations against the Election Commission of India’s move to set up 15 special polling stations for Bru voters on the Mizoram-Tripura border, saying it will drastically bring down the voting percentage.
“The ECI move is against what we want as we had requested the Union ministry of home affairs through a memorandum on March 14 that the polling booths should be set up in the seven relief camps in Tripura. Such a move would not only involve a lot of expenditure on transportation but will bring down the voting percentage drastically,” Bruno Msha, the general secretary of the Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples’ Forum, told The Shillong Times.
According to reports, 15 polling stations – nine for Mamit district and three each for Kolasib and Lunglei districts would be set up on the inter-state border, the chief electoral officer had informed the media in Aizawl on Monday.
About 12,000 Bru voters from seven relief camps in Tripura will exercise their franchise in the April 11 parliamentary elections.
“As it is, in the Assembly election in November last year, the voting percentage was about 60 even as many, including women, children and the elderly had to face difficulty to go to Kanhmun and vote. Many had difficulty in having access to food while standing in queues for long hours after the tiresome journey from the relief camps,” Msha said.
He further said that if the polling booths were set up in the relief camps, the percentage of voting would cross the 90 mark.
The forum had also requested the ministry to extend supply of ration, relief and cash doles beyond the deadline of March 31, as the repatriation and rehabilitation of the 35,000 Bru inmates of relief camps in Tripura were yet to be completed.
“We have not been able to meet the state government representatives in regard to the repatriation process owing to the parliamentary elections. So till then, we have requested the home ministry to consider our request for continuation of the supply of ration, cash doles and relief for the camp inmates,” Msha said.

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