Over 70 per cent voters cast their votes till 3 pm on Thursday (February 16) in the Tripura Assembly elections amid heavy security, election officials said. Several incidents of attacks on political workers and intimidation and obstruction of voters were reported.
Voting for the 60-member Assembly began at 7 am on Thursday, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Gitte Kirankumar Dinakarrao said. Till 9 am, 13.23 per cent voter turnout was recorded. Voting picked up and at 11 am, when 31.23 per cent voter turnout was recorded. According to the Election Commission of India’s website, 51.35 per cent voter turnout was recorded till 1 pm.
Altogether 28.13 voters are scheduled to exercise their franchise during the day in 3,337 polling stations of the north-eastern state to determine the fate of 259 candidates, he said.
Also read: Tripura polls: Tough battle ahead as BJP shows VIP power, Oppn hints at unity
No untoward incident or EVM technical snag was reported from any part of the state during the first 30 minutes, said Dinakarrao. Of the 3,337 polling stations, 1,100 booths were identified as sensitive and 28 as critical.
Later in the day, BJP workers allegedly attacked opposition party members in South, Gomati, Sepahijala, and West Tripura districts, leaving at least 60 of them injured. The main opposition, CPM, alleged that BJP workers had evicted their candidates’ polling agents in more than 25 polling stations in four districts.
Dinakarrao said wherever they got any information of trouble, security forces rushed to those areas and resolved the problems. A senior police official said a constable was suspended in Gomati district for his alleged role in urging people to vote for the ruling BJP.
Opposition CPM and Congress complained that in several places, including Dhanpur and Kakraban, BJP workers obstructed voters of opposition parties.
Urging the people of Tripura to vote in record numbers and strengthen the festival of democracy. I specially call upon the youth to exercise their franchise.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 16, 2023
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the people of Tripura to vote in record numbers in the assembly polls and strengthen the festival of democracy.
“Urging the people of Tripura to vote in record numbers and strengthen the festival of democracy,” Modi said in a tweet. “I specially call upon the youth to exercise their franchise,” he said.
As many as 97 booths are being managed by women polling personnel. The international and inter-state boundaries have been sealed to keep trouble-makers at bay during the voting process, Dinakarrao said.
Also read: BJP will get absolute majority, says Tripura CM Manik Saha
As part of precautionary measures, prohibitory orders have been imposed across the state till 6 am on February 17, the CEO stated.
Polling underway for #TripuraElections2023; visuals from polling booths number 54 in Gomati pic.twitter.com/spyIAIPh35
— ANI (@ANI) February 16, 2023
“As many as 31,000 polling personnel and 25,000 security personnel of central forces will be on guard to ensure the election is conducted in a free, fair and peaceful manner. Besides, 31,000 officials of the state armed police and the state police will be deployed at various places to maintain law and order,” he explained.
Urging electors to come out and exercise their democratic rights, the CEO said necessary steps have been made for their safety.
Also read: CPI(M) pins hopes on veteran Manik Sarkar to revive fortunes in Tripura
The northeastern state is set to witness a triangular fight this time, with the BJP-IPFT coalition seeking to retain supremacy, the Left-Congress combine looking to wrest power, and regional outfit Tipra Motha making its debut at the hustings after its stunning performance in the autonomous council polls.
Tripura Elections2023: Voting begins for the 60 Assembly seats; Long queue outside polling booths @ECISVEEP @SpokespersonECI pic.twitter.com/GRkPNawUuw
— Prasar Bharati News Services & Digital Platform (@PBNS_India) February 16, 2023
The BJP is contesting 55 assembly seats, and its ally IPFT has fielded candidates in six constituencies.
The two parties will be having a friendly fight in one seat. The Left Front is contesting 47 seats and the Congress 13 constituencies. The TMC has fielded nominees in 28 constituencies.
Apart from that, there are 58 Independent aspirants in the fray. Votes will be counted on March 2.
Also read: If BJP retains power, Tripura may well get its first woman CM: Report
People of Tripura are united for change.
Sincerely urge everyone, especially the youth to come out and participate in the festival of Democracy and vote for peace and progress.
Vote, without fear. #TripuraElection2023
— Mallikarjun Kharge (@kharge) February 16, 2023
(With agency inputs)