Tripura Assembly Elections 2023: 32.12% voter turnout till 11 am
Polling for the Tripura Assembly Elections began at 7am on Thursday across 3,328 polling stations including 1,100 sensitive and 28 marked critical amid high-security cover
A total of 32.12 per cent of 28.13 lakh voters exercised their franchise in the Tripura assembly elections till 11 am on Thursday, with the polling process largely being peaceful, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Gitte Kirankumar Dinakarrao said.
The exercise began at 7 am and is scheduled to continue till 4 pm.
“A large number of voters were seen queuing in front of polling stations since morning to exercise their franchise. The polling process has largely remained peaceful amidst tight security,” he told reporters.
“A total of 32.12 per cent voting was recorded till 11 am. It will be a challenge to complete the process by 4 pm as we expect a huge turnout at the end of the day,” he added.
Noting that free and fair elections are being conducted, the CEO said the ECI has ensured the entry of more than one party’s polling agent in all the 3,337 booths.
EVM malfunctioning was reported in 40-45 places but all the machines were replaced and voting resumed, he said, adding the ECI is sending additional forces wherever required.
“There has been no report of booth jam or capturing so far,” he said.
A senior police officer said two CPI(M) polling agents were attacked by unidentified people in Kakraban assembly constituency in Gomati district but no FIR has been registered yet.
Among the early voters was Chief Minister Manik Saha, who is contesting the polls from Town Bardowali constituency.
He exuded confidence that the BJP will secure an absolute majority in the Assembly elections.
"I am 100 per cent confident that the BJP will secure absolute majority in the elections. The party may get more seats than it did the last time,” he told reporters on his way to a polling booth at Maharani Tulsibati Girls’ School here.
Leader of Opposition Manik Sarkar, after casting his vote in Ramnagar constituency, appealed to the people to “brave all odds” and unitedly cast their votes for forming a new government that will create an atmosphere of democracy, peace and tranquility.
Rajya Sabha MP and former CM Biplab Kumar Deb exuded confidence that the BJP will win 40 of the 60 seats in the state.
“Tripura has a tradition of giving massive mandate... The BJP-IPFT alliance has won 44 seats in 2018 polls, the Left Front has bagged more than 40 seats in 2002,” he said.
“The northeastern state has witnessed massive development on all fronts – from education to healthcare to infrastructure – in the last five years. I am sure people will bless the BJP by ensuring the victory of our candidates in more than 40 seats,” the former CM said.
Deb offered prayers at the Tripureswari temple before going to cast his vote in Udaipur.
The northeastern state, where top leaders had stepped up their electoral spadework over the past few days, 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.
The BJP-IPFT alliance, which had won 18 of 20 seats in the tribal areas last elections, however, is facing a tough challenge this time from the Tipra Motha, headed by erstwhile royal scion Pradyot Manikya Debbarma, given that the regional outfit had made a big splash in Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) polls two years ago, bagging 18 of the 30 seats.
Altogether 28.13 lakh voters are eligible to exercise their franchise during the day in 3,337 polling stations of the northeastern state to determine the fate of 259 candidates, the CEO said.
Of the 3,337 polling stations, 1,100 booths have been identified as sensitive and 28 as critical. As many as 97 booths are being managed by the women polling personnel.
The international and inter-state boundaries have been sealed to keep trouble-makers at bay during the voting process, he said.
As part of precautionary measures, prohibitory orders have been imposed across the state till 6 am on February 17, the CEO stated.
"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.
Dinakarrao also said that an air ambulance has been stationed at Agartala Airport for emergencies.
Urging electors to come out and exercise their democratic rights, the CEO said necessary steps have been made for their safety.
"Special initiatives have been taken for physically challenged and old voters so that they don’t face any inconvenience at the booths," he said.
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.
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