Over 78 per cent voter turnout was recorded till 9 pm in the single-phase Tripura Assembly polls on Sunday, according to Election Commission. The turnout is likely to increase as a large number of people were still standing in queues even after the voting hours were over. The polling will continue till 9-10 pm as it was delayed in the morning following complaints of EVM malfunctioning. The voter turnout stood at 91.82 per cent in the last Assembly election.
As per the polling watchdog, there were several complaints of malfunctioning of EVMs but many were found to be false. The EC said a total of 12 ballot units were replaced, adding that no incidents of violence were reported from anywhere in the state. Two crude bombs were recovered which were disposed off, the EC said.
The voting is being held in 59 of the total 60 seats as polling could not be held in the Charilam constituency due to the death of CPI(M) candidate Ramendra Narayan Deb Barma last week. The constituency will go to polls on March 12. The counting of votes would be taken up on March 3.
The elections in Tripura, the first of the three Northeast states going to polls this month, is being considered as a direct battle between the Left and BJP. The BJP, propelled by the Congress whose seven MLAs defected to the saffron party in the run-up to the elections, has emerged as the main challenger for the Left, with stalwarts like Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah leading the charge.
The state is crucial for the Left, which is its last bastion in the country, with Manik Sarkar’s 25-year rule facing a sort of referendum this election.
The saffron party, which had forged a pre-poll alliance with tribal outfit Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), had fielded 51 candidates. The IPFT, an anti-Left party, contested from the remaining nine seats.
The Congress, which has been the main opposition party for 25 years, and in power twice in Tripura, went it all alone in Tripura this time and contested from 59 seats. The party had not fielded a candidate from the Kakrabon constituency in Gomati district.
There are 25,73,413 registered voters — 13,05,375 male and 12,68,027 female — in the state. The number of voters under the third gender category in the state is 11 and that of the new voters 47,803.
With inputs from Agencies
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