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Tripura sees over 77 per cent voter turnout

Polling passes off peacefully; slow balloting in some places due to malfunctioning of EVMs triggers ire of parties.

Published: 19th February 2018 06:04 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th February 2018 06:15 AM   |  A+A-

Women show their fingers with indelible ink after voting in Agartala on Sunday. | PTI

Express News Service

GUWAHATI: Over 77 per cent voter turnout was recorded in Left bastion Tripura on Sunday as polling in the Assembly elections passed off peacefully. Voting was held in 59 of the state’s 60 constituencies. Polling could not be held in the Charilam constituency due to the death of CPI-M candidate Ramendra Narayan Debbarma last week. Voting there will be held on March 12.

In 2013 and 2008, the voter turnout was 92 per cent and 91 per cent, respectively. Malfunctioning of electronic voting machines (EVMs), attached to voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT), was reported from more than 100 polling stations. The consequent slow balloting triggered the ire of several political parties.

“As per reports received so far, over 77 per cent of voting was recorded. It may go up to 80 per cent,” the state’s chief electoral officer, Sriram Taranikanti, told The New Indian Express. “We ensured good security presence at all polling stations. We also sent the right message to people. As a result, polling was peaceful,” he added.

There were 25,73,413 eligible voters, including 13,05,375 men, 12,68,027 women and 11 transgender persons. Forty-seven polling stations were guarded by women security personnel. The ruling Left and the BJP are the two major players in this election. In India’s electoral history, the two have never come face-to-face before.

The Congress, which fought the polls alone, had fielded the highest number of candidates, 59, followed by the CPI-M with 57, the BJP with 51 and Trinamool Congress with 24.

The BJP highlighted issues including alleged corruption in the Manik Sarkar-led government, and lack of development. Sarkar has been in the hot seat since 1998, while the Left has been ruling the state for 25 years. The BJP had brought in all its star campaigners, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah.

The results will be declared on March 3 along with those for the Nagaland and Meghalaya elections.

NCP candidate killed in Meghalaya blast

Guwahati: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) candidate Jonathone Nengminza Sangma was killed in a blast triggered by suspected militants in poll-bound Meghalaya on Sunday evening. According to reports, the incident occurred at Samanda at around 7.50 pm. Sangma was returning to Williamnagar in a car following election campaigning at Sobokgre and Nabokgre. There were unconfirmed reports that two security guards were also killed. The police have neither confirmed nor denied Sangma’s death. However, in a tweet, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma expressed condolences over the death.

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