Polling peaceful in Tripura, 78.56% turnout recorded
A total of 292 candidates, including 23 women and many independents, are in the fray. Counting of votes will take place on March 3.Updated: Feb 18, 2018 22:55 IST
Hindustan Times, Agartala
The single-phase Tripura assembly poll on Sunday witnessed 78.56% turnout, according to figures released by the Election Commission. This was over 13% less than the last assembly election when the polling percentage was recorded at 91.82%.
Polling was held in 59 of the total 60 assembly seats. Voting for the Charilam constituency was deferred due to the death of CPI(M) candidate Ramendra Narayan Deb Barma last week. The constituency will go to polls on March 12.
A total of 292 candidates, including 23 women and many independents, are in the fray. Counting of votes will take place on March 3.
The state with 25 lakh electorate saw largely peaceful polling, barring incidents of glitches in and malfunctioning of the Electronic Voting Machines in some 180 polling stations.
Though the scheduled voting hours ended at 4 pm, a large numbers of voters were seen in queues till late night at several polling stations across the state.
In the 2013 and 2008 Assembly polls, Tripura witnessed record balloting at 92 and 91 per cent respectively.
At the end of polling, both the ruling CPI(M) and the challenger BJP sounded confident of victory. In India’s 65-year-old electoral history, the CPI(M) has never before come in direct confrontation with the BJP.
While the Manik Sarkar-led Left Front is hopeful of forming the government for the eighth time, the saffron party is equally confident of breaching the 25-year old Red citadel in the state.
“It is certain that the 8th Left Front government will be formed in Tripura after these elections. We are strongly hopeful,” said chief minister and CPI(M) politburo member Manik Sarkar after cast his vote along with his wife Panchali Bhattacharjee.
Speaking to the media after casting his vote, state BJP chief Biplab Deb said, “People want change. People strongly wish for a BJP government in Tripura. It is certain that the BJP will form the next government in Tripura.”
The ruling CPI-M fielded 56 candidates, leaving one seat each to its Left Front partners Communist Party of India, Forward Bloc, and Revolutionary Socialist Party.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is contesting 50 seats, leaving nine seats for its ally, the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT).
The Congress fielded candidates in all 59 constituencies. However, its official nominee Sukumar Chandra Das in Kakraban-Shalgarha Assembly seat (Reserved-Scheduled Caste) withdrew his nomination and joined the BJP.
The Trinamool Congress has fielded 24 candidates.
Of the 60 seats, 20 are reserved for tribals and 10 for Scheduled Castes.
Of the over 25 lakh voters, 12 lakh are women. This time, 11 third genders have also cast their votes for the first time.
“We want a peaceful situation and employment for youths,” said Amrita Banik, a college student and first-time voter.
Chumki, a third gender, hoped that whichever party comes to power, it should do development for all irrespective of caste, creed, or gender.
(With Agency inputs)
First Published: Feb 18, 2018 22:54 IST