Tripura ready for assembly elections on Thursday; 3-cornered contest on the cards

Agartala, Feb 15 (PTI) A three-cornered high voltage election campaign where the ruling BJP faces off with the Left-Cong alliance on the one hand and the Tipra Motha on the other, will culminate Wednesday when the electorate casts its vote.

All preparations for conducting free, fair and peaceful elections to the 60-member Tripura Assembly on Thursday have been completed, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Gitte Kirankumar Dinakarro said.

The voting will be held under tight security between 7 am and 4 pm at 3,337 polling stations, out of which 1,100 were identified as sensitive and 28 as critical, Dinakarro told PTI.

The main contestants of the elections are the BJP-IPFT combine, CPI(M)-Congress alliance and the Tipra Motha, a regional party formed by the scion of the northeastern state’s former royal family.

Votes will be counted on March 2.

“As many as 31,000 polling personnel and 25,000 security personnel of central forces are ready to conduct the election in a free, fair and peaceful manner. Besides, 31,000 employees of the state armed police and the state police will be deployed to maintain law and order,” the CEO said.

As part of the precautionary measures, prohibitory order has already been imposed across the state and it will remain in force till 6 am on February 17, a senior police officer said.

The international and inter-state boundaries have also been sealed to prevent trouble mongers from entering the state.

Altogether 28.13 lakh voters including 13.53 lakh women will decide the fate of 259 aspirants of whom 20 are women.

Chief Minister Manik Saha is the BJP nominee from the Town Bardowali constituency, while Union minister Pratima Bhowmik is contesting from Dhanpur on the saffron party’s ticket. CPI(M) state secretary Jitendra Chadudhury who is the face of the Left-Congress combine, is fighting for the Sabroom Assembly seat.

Pradyot Debbarma, the scion of the northeastern state’s former royal family and founder of Tipra Motha, is not in the fray.

The BJP is contesting in 55 seats, its ally IPFT has fielded candidates in six constituencies, while there will be a friendly fight in one seat.

The CPI(M) is contesting in 47 seats while its alliance partner Congress is fighting in 13 constituencies. The Tipra Motha has candidates in 42 seats.

The Trinamool Congress has fielded nominees in 28 constituencies while there are 58 independent aspirants.

The ruling BJP has fielded the highest number of women candidates with 12.

During the campaigning, the BJP highlighted the development that has taken place in the northeastern state in the last five years, the Left Front and the Congress stressed on “misrule and misgovernance” of the BJP-IPFT government.

The poll plank of Tipra Motha is Greater Tipraland statehood demand.