Agartala: Polling to
elect a new assembly in the Left-ruled Tripura ended peacefully
Thursday with more than 92 percent voters casting their ballots.
"Over 92 percent of the 23.5 lakh (2.35 million) voters have cast
their votes across the state," said Chief Electoral Officer
He said the percentage might still go jup after reports on the
day's balloting arrive from all over the state.
Jindal said people were still standing in queues outside polling
stations even after the time to vote ended at 4 p.m.
Voters in large numbers queued up well before polling started at 7
a.m. New voters and women appeared the most enthusiastic across
Tripura recorded around 92 percent polling in the last assembly
elections held in 2008.
According to Jindal, except one or two small incidents, the voting
passed off peacefully with no major incident reported from
anywhere in the north-eastern state, which shares a 856-km border
The ballots will be counted Feb 28 and decide the electoral fate
of 249 candidates, including 15 women and many Independents, in
Political parties also expressed happiness over the heavy voter
turnout and the peaceful polling.
Inspector General of Police Nepal Das said that except for an
incident in Khowai, 85 km west of here, no major incident was
reported from anywhere.
The situation was completely peaceful in the extremist-dominated
areas too, he said.
"Only a scuffle took place between political workers in Khowai in
which two people were injured," Das told IANS.
He said five handmade crude bombs were recovered in Khayerpur, 10
km from here.
At a few polling stations, technical trouble with electronic
voting machines (EVMs) led to brief disruptions.
In the wake of threats from separatists and possible violence, a
record 40,000 security personnel were deployed while two air
surveillance teams led by police officials also kept vigil, an
election official said.
After casting his vote at a school here, Chief Minister Manik
Sarkar, said: "The Left Front will get more votes and more seats
this time too."
"There is absolutely no impact of the 'paribartan' (change) slogan
raised by the Congress here after stealing it from West Bengal.
The Left Front will win the elections comfortably in most seats,"
the 64-year-old CPI-M politburo member told reporters here before
leaving for his Dhanpur assembly constituency.
"The Election Commission has deployed specially modified EVMs in
all the 3,041 polling stations to check possible malpractice and
other irregularities," he said.
About 18,000 poll officials were deployed for the polls.
Of the 3,041 polling stations, 32 were categorised as very
vulnerable and 112 as vulnerable.
The Election Commission appointed over 2,000 micro observers to
assist 48 general, expenditure and police observers to oversee
Tripura, ravaged by insurgency for decades, has 60 assembly seats
with 20 reserved for tribals and 10 for Scheduled Castes. Of the
total 37 lakh population of the state, 23.5 lakh were eligible to
exercise their franchise.
Thursday's vote will decide the fate of the chief minister, his 11
cabinet colleagues, former chief minister and veteran Congress
leader Samir Ranjan Burman, his son and state Congress chief Sudip
Roy Barman, opposition leader (Congress) Ratan Lal Nath,
Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) president and
former militant leader Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawl and a host of
After a month-long high-voltage campaign, the ruling CPI-M led
Left Front is locked in a direct fight against the opposition
combine of the Congress and the INPT.
The Left Front, which has been in power since 1978 barring one
term (1988-1993), has been facing a challenge in numerous issues,
including higher salaries to the government employees and rising