Agartala, April 12: Around 940,000 people voted Saturday for the second Lok Sabha seat in Left-ruled Tripura, an official said.
“Balloting took place in tribal reserve Tripura East constituency with no untoward incidents reported so far. The polling was absolutely peaceful in the parliamentary constituency,” Tripura Chief Electoral Officer Ashutosh Jindal told IANS.
The constituency has an electorate of 1.13 million, the majority of them tribals.
In the last Lok Sabha polls in 2009, around 83 percent votes were polled for the parliamentary seat.
On April 7, over 86 percent of the 1.2 million voters cast their votes in the Tripura West constituency.
Dressed in traditional attire, long queues of men and women voters, including tribals, were seen in most of the 1,490 polling stations.
“In spite of summer heat, voters, including women, in large numbers came to the polling booths even before the polling started at 7 a.m.,” said Jindal quoting reports from the districts.
“The voting percentage might increase after getting the final reports from the returning officer and district magistrates and collectors. Many voters are still at the polling stations even beyond 5 p.m. to cast their votes,” an official added.
The balloting started at 7 a.m. and ended at 5 p.m., one hour more than the previous elections.
Of the 1,490 polling stations, six are all women polling stations manned by women polling personnel only.
Over 12,000 troopers of Manipur State Rifles, Central Reserve Police Force, Assam Rifles and Border Security Force personnel besides the state’s security forces were deployed for free and fair conduct of the polls.
Helicopters were pressed into service to keep an eye on polling in the Lok Sabha constituency that shares borders with Bangladesh, Assam and Mizoram.
In Saturday’s polling, the main battle is between Communist Party of India-Marxist’s Jitendra Choudhury and Sachitra Debbarma of the Congress.
Choudhury, 57, is Tripura’s incumbent industry, commerce and rural development minister, while 64-years-old Debbarma is a national award winning teacher.
Others in the fray include Parikshit Debbarma (Bharatiya Janata Party), Bhriguram Reang (Trinamool Congress) and Karna Bijoy Jamatia (Aam Aadmi Party).
Since 1952, the Left has won the Tripura East seat 10 times while the Congress secured the seat five times. The CPI-M has been winning the seat uninterrupted since 1996.
CPI-M candidates got 62 percent votes in the 2009 polls and 69 percent in the 2004 election while the combined share of votes of all opposition parties, including independents, was 38.31 percent and 31.20 percent, respectively.
The ruling CPI-M this time dropped both its sitting members – Khagen Das (Tripura West) and Bajuban Reang (Tripura East).
The CPI-M, the dominant partner of the ruling Left Front, has a substantial base among the tribals who have played a crucial role in Tripura politics and constitute one third of Tripura’s 3.7 million population.
The CPI-M is focusing on the development work it has done in Tripura while attacking the Congress-led union government for poor governance, price rise and corruption in the country.
The opposition is focussing on the Left Front’s alleged misgovernance, unemployment and rising crimes against women.