Tripura records over 81% turnout

Many incidents of attacks on political workers, intimidation and obstruction of voters were reported from different districts…reports Asian Lite News

Over 81 per cent of the 28.14 lakh voters in Trpura exercised their franchise till 4 p.m. as the state went to the polls on Thursday amid heavy security, election officials said.

Voter turnout was 91.82 per cent and 89.38 per cent in 2013 and 2018 Assembly elections, respectively.

“Over one lakh voters are still in the queue at many polling stations across the state even after the voting officially ended at 4 p.m. The final voting percentage might cross 86 per cent,” an election official said.

Many incidents of attacks on political workers, intimidation and obstruction of voters were reported from different districts.

At least 60 opposition party workers were injured after the ruling party workers allegedly attacked them in Gomati, Sepahijala, South Tripura and West Tripura districts.

The main opposition CPI-M alleged that the BJP workers evicted their candidates’ polling agents in more than 25 polling stations in four districts.

Tripura Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Gitte Kirankumar Dinkarrao said that wherever the authority got any information of trouble, security forces were immediately rushed to those areas to resolve the problems.

A senior police officer said that a constable was suspended in Gomati district for his alleged role in urging people to cast their votes in favour of the ruling BJP.

Opposition parties, including the CPI-M and the Congress, complained that at several places, including Santirbazar, Hrishamukh, Dhanpur and Kakraban, the ruling party workers obstructed the voters supporting the opposition parties.

Earlier, men, women and first-time voters queued up in front of the polling stations well before the voting started at 7 a.m. in eight districts.

Reang tribals, who were displaced 26 years ago from Mizoram following ethnic trouble, and voters residing in the zero line of the India-Bangladesh border (outside the fencing) also exercised their franchise.

The CEO said that a total of 259 candidates, including 31 women, are in the fray for the election to the 60-member House, and of them, the highest number of candidates (55) has been fielded by the ruling BJP, followed by the CPI-M (43), Tipra Motha Party (42), Trinamool Congress (28), and Congress (13).

A total of 58 Independent candidates and 14 nominees from various smaller parties are also contesting the elections.

Around 31,000 personnel were stationed at 3,327 polling stations to conduct the elections.

In all, 28.14 lakh voters, including 13.99 lakh women, were eligible to cast their votes in Thursday’s balloting.

A senior police officer said that the Union Home Ministry has provided 400 companies (30,000 security personnel) of Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) while around 9,000 Tripura State Rifles jawans and over 6,000 Tripura Police personnel were deployed to hold fair and violence-free elections.

Massive seizures in three poll-bound states

A record seizure of cash, liquor, drugs and precious metals worth Rs 147.84 crore has been made from the three poll-bound states – Tripura, Nagaland, and Meghalaya, according to a statement by the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Thursday.

The ECI’s thrust on “inducement-free” elections has led to sustained efforts for monitoring election expenditure in the three poll-going states. The record seizure in the three states marks a significant increase of over 20 times as compared to the last Assembly Elections in 2018, the poll body said in a statement.

“Big Operations include seizure of 3.52 kg of heroin in Dhalai district amounting 10.58 Crores made by Police. Seizures of Heroin were also reported from East Khasi Hills District in Meghalaya (2.447 kg) and from Chumoukedima District in Nagaland (2.27 kg), done by DRI,” it said.

During visits to these poll-going states, the Election Commission had exhaustively reviewed the preparations with Central and State enforcement agencies.

While announcing the Assembly Elections in these northeastern states, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar had stressed the increased vigil and zero tolerance on the distribution of inducements during the electoral process.

Voters in Tripura are today exercising their franchise in the Assembly elections.

The counting of votes will take place on March 2, coinciding with the date of the Meghalaya and Nagaland Assembly polls results.

Tripura is the first state to go to the polls this year. While polling for Nagaland and Meghalaya assemblies will be held on February 27, five more states face elections this year in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections in 2024. (ANI)

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