An impressive 89.8 per cent of the over 25.73 lakh electors came out to vote in Sunday’s Tripura Assembly polls, the Election Commission said here on Monday. On Sunday, based on the details made available by the local poll authorities, the commission had put the figure at 76 per cent. Polling continued till 12-30 am last night in many booths and so, the final polling percentage was not available on Sunday, state Chief Electoral Officer Sriram Taranikanti told reporters in Agartala. A spokesperson on Monday said that the “final figure” was 89.80 per cent. In the last Assembly election in 2013, the voter turnout was recorded at 91.82 per cent, while in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, it was 84.32 per cent.
The polling for 59 seats of the 60-member Assembly was held peacefully with thousands of central paramilitary forces’ personnel deployed across the north-eastern state. There were reports of malfunctioning of the electronic voting machines (EVMs) at some polling stations which were rectified.
Meanwhile, the ruling CPI-M has lodged a complaint that Assam minister and BJP election in-charge of Tripura Himanta Biswa Sarma was present in the state during polling, violating EC guidelines.
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 the polls on March 12. The CEO said a complaint was received and forwarded to the ”appropriate authorities”. Both the Left Front, which is headed by the CPI-M, and its main challenger, the BJP, thanked the electorate for the heavy turnout.
In a statement, the CPI-M accused BJP ally Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) of intimidating voters and sought re-polling in three booths of the Takarjala constituency in West Tripura district.
The BJP, hitherto an “also ran” in the border state, has emerged as the key challenger to the Left Front, which has remained unvanquished in the last five Assembly elections. Manik Sarkar, one of the most enduring icons of the CPI(M), has led the state for the last four terms.
The Congress, which has been marginalised in Tripura, was last in power between February 1988 and March 1993. This time, it contested from 59 seats and did not field a candidate for the Kakrabon constituency.
The BJP, which has been rapidly expanding its footprint in the north-east, with the party already in power in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, has forged an alliance with IPFT, an anti-Left party. The BJP has fielded candidates from 51 seats, while the IPFT is contesting from the remaining nine seats.