The ruling Left Front in Tripura faced a political test on Monday as the state's three-tier local bodies went to the polls.
An electorate of over a million will decide the fate of 11,831 candidates, including 4,383 women, in the elections to the Gram Panchayats, Panchayat Samitis and Zila Parishads. The polls are being held under tight security.
Candidates belonging to the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left Front, Congress, Trinamool Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are fighting these rural polls in the 5,295 seats of 511 Gram Panchayats, 299 seats in 23 Panchayat Samitis and 82 seats in four Zila Parishads.
The Left Front in Tripura is unopposed in 109 seats.
In the previous Panchayat elections in 2004, the Left Front had won 4,797 Gram Panchayat seats, 285 Panchayat Samiti seats and 81 Zila Parishad seats while the main opposition Congress secured 489 Gram Panchayat seat, 19 Panchayat Samiti and one Zila Parishad seat.
The government has reserved 1,900 of the 5,676 seats in the three-tier panchayat system for women.
The one-and-a-half-month-long election campaign ended on Saturday. The result of the local bodies' election would be known Thursday.
"Instead of electronic voting machines (EVM), the traditional method of voting through ballot papers and ballot boxes are being used in the politically important elections to the local bodies," said state election commissioner Y.P. Singh.
For the first time, photo identity cards have been made compulsory for voters when they exercise their franchise.
Central paramilitary forces as well as Tripura State Rifles have been deployed in 2,243 polling stations in different parts of the state, while Assam Rifles have established over 12 temporary operation bases in the terrorist infested interior areas to intensify counter-insurgency operations.
The Border Security Force has also been alerted by the state government to check infiltration through the 856-km long India-Bangladesh border, part of which is porous, riverine and unfenced.
The Tripura government has declared a holiday Monday to enable the voters to exercise their franchise in the Panchayat elections.