The northeast Indian state of Tripura went to state assembly polls on February 18, recording 74% voting turnout.
Elections are being held in 59 out of the state's 60 assembly constituencies. The election in Charilam constituency was postponed following the death six days ago of CPI-(M) candidate Ramendra Narayan Debbarma.
Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and BJP leader Biplab Kumar Deb, both candidates from the Agartala constituency, had earlier in the day claimed that voting in a few polling stations in the state capital were held up for more than 90 minutes because of EVM glitches.
After casting his vote, Sarkar concisely spoke to reporters by saying, “We are hopeful.”[caption id="attachment_247651" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Chief minister of Tripura Manik Sarkar arrives to cast his vote at a polling station during Tripura legislative assembly elections in Agartala, the capital of northeastern state of Tripura on February 18, 2018 Shilajit Kar Bhowmik/Dhaka Tribune[/caption]
Kumar Deb, after casting his vote, told reporters, “These election results will be historic; we will definitely win. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP National President Amit Shah called me up and gave me good wishes.”
State Director General of Police Akhil Kumar Shukla said security measures had been put in place across Tripura.
The BSF has been asked to keep a close vigil on the 856km-long India-Bangladesh border in Tripura and 300 companies of central armed forces along with state armed personnel and police have been deployed across the state to ensure free and fair polls, he added.
Tripura Chief Electoral Officer Sriram Taranikanti said the Election Commission has appointed police observers, general observers and expenditure observers to oversee the entire poll process.[caption id="attachment_247652" align="aligncenter" width="800"] An Indian paramilitary force personnel stands guard at a polling station during Tripura legislative assembly elections in Agartala, the capital of northeastern state of Tripura on February 18, 2018 Shilajit Kar Bhowmik/Dhaka Tribune[/caption]
The CPI-(M) is contesting in 57 seats. The remaining Left Front constituents, the CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc are contesting one seat each. The BJP which struck an alliance with the regional Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) has fielded candidates in 51 constituencies. While the IPFT itself is contesting 9 seats. The Congress is contesting in 59 constituencies.
No incidents of violence had been reported from anywhere in the state, Taranikanti said.
The voting process, however, got delayed in some booths of West Tripura, Khowai, Unakoti districts as election workers could not connect the EVMs or electronic voting machines, he said.
"Engineers rushed to the booths and put everything in order," he added.