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Voters defy militants' diktat

Elections to the two Lok Sabha seats in Tripura passed off peacefully with a turnout of 70 per cent. Thousands of people cast their vote, defying militant threats. The reports indicated a 70 per cent turnout. ?The figure may rise after final compilation?, an official said.
PTI | By Syed Sajjad Ali, Agartala
UPDATED ON MAY 15, 2004 05:00 PM IST

Elections TO the two Lok Sabha seats in Tripura passed off peacefully with a turnout of 70 per cent. Thousands of people cast their vote, defying militant threats.

Deputy chief electoral officer Ashok Kumar Poddar said initial reports indicated a 70 per cent turnout. “The figure may rise after final compilation.”

Barring two complaints of irregularities, the election department did not receive any major complaints.

However, the Congress and the NDA charged the ruling CPI(M) with intimidating voters. “Our agents were driven out of many polling centres. In some areas, our supporters were attacked,” said PCC vice-president Tapas Dey.

Trinamool Congress chairman Arun Bhowmik lodged a complaint with the police after some miscreants attacked his house late Wednesday night. Bhowmik claimed the attackers were CPI(M) workers.

The BJP said its polling agents and workers were roughed up in two places of south Tripura.

The All-Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) had called for an election boycott. But this did not deter tribals from casting their votes in most interior places, except Mandai and some pockets of neighbouring Majlishpur.

Soon after voting began, ATTF rebels attacked an Assam Rifles contingent at Nalbagla, 30 kms east of Agartala, resulting in a fierce exchange of fire.

The encounter continued for almost two hours but there were no casualties. The incident spread panic among tribal voters in the remote location.

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