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Tripura polls by and large peaceful, over 85 percent voters' turnout recorded: EC Tripura Polls
Image Credit: UNI

Tripura polls by and large peaceful, over 85 percent voters' turnout recorded: EC

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 16 Feb 2023, 07:52 pm

Agartala/IBNS/UNI: Over 85 percent of the electorate exercised their democratic rights amid high security as the Tripura Assembly polls remained by and large peaceful barring a few stray incidents of violence on Thursday.

Election and police officials said no major incident was reported from anywhere in the North Eastern state.

“The state saw over 85 percent of votes cast till 4 pm. However, the final figure would go up as a large number of voters were still in the queue at many of the polling stations post closing time,” an Election Commission official said.

In the previous assembly elections in 2018, the voter turnout was 89 percent.

Most of the polling stations in the city as also in the other parts of the state saw a high turnout of voters and long queues in front of the booths.

The voting, which began at 7 AM at a brisk pace, was slow initially in some polling stations due to malfunctioning of EVMs.

In both rural and urban areas including Agartala city, large groups of voters, mostly women and older people, were found standing in long queues almost an hour before the poll began.

Initially, security personnel tried to prevent the voters from entering the campuses of the polling stations before the start of polling, but when the crowd swelled up and poured into the road in constituencies like Bardowali and Agartala, police allowed them inside.

Chief Minister and BJP leader Dr Manik Saha and Congress heavyweight Sudip Roybarman have contested from Bardowali and Agartala respectively.

Saha cast his vote at Maharani Tulsibati HS School in front of Ujjayanta Palace and claimed that not only would he coast to a big win from the Bardowali seat, but the ruling BJP will also return to power with a comfortable majority, as people have rejected the CPI-M-Congress alliance in the election.

"I am in close touch with the administration and no problem has been reported so far from anywhere,” the Chief Minister said.

The opposition Left Front-Congress combine alleged that their supporters were prevented from voting and the polling agents of the candidates were forcibly evicted from a few booths under Ramnagar, Khayerpur, Mohanpur, Dhanpur, and Santirbazar assembly constituencies.

In some areas of South Tripura and Sepahijala districts, opposition voters were allegedly confined in the localities.

The leader of the opposition and former Chief Minister Manik Sarkar – a CPI-M stalwart - accused ruling party cadres of resorting to violence and preventing voters in Dhanpur and Mohanpur at the behest of Union Minister Pratima Bhowmik and Education Minister Ratan Lal Nath – who are contesting as BJP nominees from the two seats respectively.

He also alleged that the response of the election machinery was “not satisfactory”.

In the midst of a tough battle for state power, the Abhoynagar area under Agartala constituency sprang a pleasant surprise as both Congress and BJP workers erected their makeshift booth camp together and shared snacks with a smile.

The ruling BJP is in the fray in 55 constituencies while its coalition partner Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) is contesting in six seats, as they could not arrive at an understanding in Ampinagar.

Throwing a challenge to the saffron camp, one-time arch-rivals Left Front and the Congress have joined hands. The Left Front’s main constituent CPI-M has fielded candidates in 43 seats, its other partners CPI, Forward Bloc, and RSP are in the fray in one seat each, while Congress has been allotted 13 seats.

In Ramangar, both LF and Congress are backing an independent candidate, a renowned lawyer, and human rights activist Purusattam Roybarman.

Tribal outfit Tipra Motha, led by popular royal scion Pradyot Kishore Debbarman, has put up candidates in 42 seats, while the Trinamool Congress is battling in 28 constituencies.

There are 58 independents and 20 women aspirants in the race.