Tripura Assembly Elections: Over 81 % turnouts till 4 PM amid several incidents of violence
More than 81.10 % of the 28.14 lakh voters exercised their franchise till 4 PM on Thursday in the Tripura assembly elections amid heavy security.
While, despite the extensive arrangements made by the Election commission of India (ECI) and security establishment, the miscreants have created obstacles in the way of voters in different assembly constituencies and in most the cases the ECI and police acted promptly and rescued the voters from blockade and helped them press the buttons of the EVMs. Realising that booth capturing and tampering with the EVMs would not be possible the gangs of hoodlums had tried to blockade voters from coming out to vote in many constituencies and stray incidents of violence were also reported from different constituencies.
The voter turnout was 91.82 % and 89.38 % in 2013 and 2018 assembly elections respectively.
Election department sources said that over a lakh voters are still in the queues in many polling stations across eight districts of the state even after the voting officially ended at 4 PM and the final voting percentage might cross near 90 %.
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 when the ruling party workers attacked them in South, Gomati, Sepahijala and West Tripura districts.
Tripura Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Kiran Gitte said that wherever the authority got any information of any trouble, the security forces immediately rushed to the areas and resolved the problems. A senior police official said that a police constable was suspended in Gomati district for his alleged role in urging people to cast votes in favour of the ruling BJP. Opposition political parties, including CPI(M) and Congress, complained that in several places, including Dhanpur and Kakraban, the ruling party workers obstructed the voters belonging to the opposition parties.
Men, women and first-time voters in large numbers queued up in front of the polling stations well before the voting started at 7 AM in eight all districts. "EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines), which were not functioning properly, were replaced expeditiously by the engineers," said the CEO.
The main opposition CPI(M) alleged that the BJP workers have evicted their candidates' polling agents in more than 25 polling stations in four districts.
A senior police official said that a police constable was suspended in Gomati district for his alleged role in urging people to cast votes in favour of the ruling BJP.
Opposition political parties, including CPI(M) and Congress, complained that in several places, including Santirbazar, Hrishamukh, Dhanpur and Kakraban, the ruling party workers obstructed the voters belonging to the opposition parties.
Reang tribes, displaced 26 years ago from Mizoram following ethnic troubles and voters residing at the zero line of the India-Bangladesh border (outside the fencing) are also exercising their franchise.
The CEO said that a total of 259 candidates, including 31 women, in the fray for the election to the 60-member house, and of them, the highest number (55) have 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 are stationed in 3,337 polling stations to conduct the voting. In all, 28.14 lakh voters, including 13.99 lakh women electorate are eligible to cast their votes in Thursday's voting process.
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has provided 400 companies of Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) comprising various para-military forces while around 20,000 state police and Tripura State Rifles (TSR) jawans personnel have also been deployed to hold a fair and violence free elections.