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Tripura Assembly polls 2018: 78.56% voter turnout, EVM malfunction reported

In the last Assembly elections, the voter turnout was recorded at 91.82%, while in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, it was 84.32%, Deputy Election Commissioner Sudip Jain told

Press Trust of India  |  Agartala/New Delhi 

Tripura elections 2018
Voters wait in queue to cast their votes at a polling booth, during Tripura Assembly elections in Raj Nagar, Agartala Photo: PTI

78.56 per cent of over 25,73,000 lakh voters exercised their franchise for the Assembly polls on Sundayin Tripura, where the is trying to dislodge the Left Front after an unbroken 25-year stint in power, officials said.

The polling for 59 seats of the 60-member Assembly was peaceful with thousands of central paramilitary forces fanning across the northeastern state.

There were reports of malfunctioning of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) at some polling stations which were rectified.

Polling could not be held in the Charilam constituency due to the death of CPI(M) candidate Ramendra Narayan Deb Barma last week. The constituency will go to polls on March 12.

The Election Commission said in New Delhi the updated polling percentage was complied from 41 of the 59 constituencies.

In the last Assembly elections, the voter turnout was recorded at 91.82 per cent, while in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, it was 84.32 per cent, Deputy Election Commissioner Sudip Jain told reporters in the capital.

He said two crude bombs were detected and disposed of by security personnel.

The voter turnout is likely to rise as queues were seen at polling stations even at 9 pm. The voting was to conclude at 4 pm.

Under the electoral laws, voters standing in queue at the scheduled time for voting to conclude are allowed to exercise their franchise.

Additional CEO Tapas Roy said in Agartala initially there were problems with several EVM machines which were fixed.

Earlier in the day, Chief Electoral Officer Sriram Taranikanti had said voting was delayed in some polling booths of West Tripura, Khowai and Unakoti districts as officials could not properly connect the EVMs. Technicians were rushed in to these placed and EVMs set right.

The BJP, hitherto an "also ran" in the border state, has emerged as the key challenger to the CPI(M)-led Left Front, which has remained unvanquished in the last five Assembly elections.

Manik Sarkar, one of the most enduring icons of the CPI(M), has helmed the state for the last four terms.

The Congress, which has been marginalised in Tripura, was last in power between February 1988 and March 1993. It is contesting 59 seats and had not fielded candidate for Kakrabon constituency.

The BJP, which has been rapidly expanding its footprint in the northeast, with the party already in power in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, has forged an alliance with Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT), an anti-Left party.

The has fielded candidates in 51 places, while its ally is contesting the remaining nine seats.

Prime Minister and chief Amit Shah spearheaded the BJP-IPFT challenge in one of the last bastions of the Left.

Sarkar, known for leading a frugal life and the considered the "poorest" of chief ministers in the country, almost single-handedly tried to defend his 'Red fort' against the saffron challenge.

Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) K V Srijesh said the voting was "incident free" and no violence was reported from anywhere.

While 300 companies of central armed forces were deployed, besides the state police, the BSF kept heightened vigil along the 856-km-long India-Bangladesh border in Tripura.

Director General of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) R K Pachnanda was appointed special observer to coordinate with all security forces deployed for the election.

Manik Sarkar cast his vote in Ramnagar constituency here, while Biplab Deb, the state chief, pressed the EVM button in R K Pur seat in Gomati district.

Tripura president Birajit Sinha cast his vote at Kailashahar in Unakoti district.

First Published: Mon, February 19 2018. 06:40 IST