As Tripura goes to polls, spotlight on 'poorest CM'
his clothes every morning, has just over Rs.10,000 in his name and
owns neither house, mobile nor car. Tripura's Manik Sarkar is
probably India's poorest chief minister and that rare politician
Agartala: Voting for the Tripura assembly elections began Thursday
amidst tight security, an official said.
Men and women in large numbers queued up in front of polling
stations well before voting opened at 7 a.m. in the entire state.
Polling ends at 4 p.m., said chief electoral officer Ashutosh
In all, 23,55,446 people, about half of them women, are eligible
to exercise their franchise to decide the fate of 249 candidates,
including 15 women and many independents.
"Apprehending trouble by separatist outfits and possible violence,
a record 40,000 paramilitary and other security personnel have
been deployed, while two air surveillance teams led by senior
police officials are conducting air surveillance," the election
official told IANS.
"The Election Commission has deployed specially modified
electronic voting machines in all the 3,041 polling stations
across the state to check possible malpractice and other
irregularities," he added.
About 18,000 poll officials, including four teams of polling
personnel comprising all women, have been posted to conduct the
The Election Commission has also appointed over 2,000
micro-observers to assist 48 general, expenditure and police
observers to oversee electioneering.
Thursday's vote would decide the fate of Chief Minister Manik
Sarkar, his 11 cabinet colleagues, former chief minister and
senior Congress leader Samir Ranjan Burman, his son and state
Congress president Sudip Roy Barman, opposition leader Ratan Lal
Nath, Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) president and
former militant leader Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawl among others.
After a month-long campaign for the polls, the ruling Communist
Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) led Left Front is locked in a
direct fight against the three-party opposition alliance led by