Tripura goes to polls today, 313 in fray | india | Hindustan Times
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Tripura goes to polls today, 313 in fray

Over 20 lakh voters will exercise their franchise to elect 60 representatives in state Assembly elections on Saturday, reports Syed Sajjad Ali.

india Updated: Feb 23, 2008 00:58 IST
Syed Sajjad Ali

Days of hectic political campaigns in Tripura are over. Now, it's time for real action. Over 20 lakh voters will exercise their franchise to elect 60 representatives in state Assembly elections on Saturday.

For the first time, the election commission has introduced photo electoral rolls in the state and other stringent measures have also been enforced to ensure free and fair polls.

313 candidates are in the fray, but the main contest would be between CPM-led Left Front and Congress-INPT alliance. The parties have been venting anger against each other over alleged act of intimidation and threat. The election officials and the police have maintained that the presence of huge number of paramilitary troops would ensure hassle-free elections this time. Despite being hit by militant-related activities, the run-up to the elections in the state has been quite smooth as no major violence has been reported recently.

The polling staffs started moving to their respective booths on Friday. However, those who were allotted election duty in remote areas started moving to their polling stations on Thursday. 18,000 polling staffs would manage 2,391 booths across the state. In sensitive areas, the entire polling process would be videographed.

The tough measures of the election commission this time included appointment of 12 micro observers for each constituency. They would act under a central observer.

Various restrictions and advisory have been imposed for candidates and even for the voters so as to prevent rigging in any form. Improvised electronic voting machine (EVM) has been introduced for the first time in the state and these machines could preserve data for three years.

State chief electoral officer GSG Ayyanger informed that four state officials have been suspended for violating the election code of conduct. He said that the police have registered complaints by 44 voters whose photo identity cards were snatched from different places. On the other hand, Director General of Police KTD Singh exuded confidence that elections would be conducted in a peaceful manner.

Talking to the

Hindustan Times

, he said 175 companies of paramilitary troops were brought in from outside and 25 companies stationed here have joined them.

"Alert has been sounded across the state and the BSF was taking measures to prevent cross-border movement," he said adding that special security measures will be adopted in sensitive areas. He said that unlike past elections, the militants have not given a call to boycott the elections.

The authorities had earlier identified 108 polling booths as highly vulnerable and 550 as vulnerable. Security officers have been maintaining aerial surveillance over these places.