Record 95 percent turnout in Tripura by-poll
Braving soaring summer heat, a record 95 percent of the 33,392-strong electorate Tuesday cast their votes in the significant by-election from the Nalchar assembly constituency in western Tripura, officials said here. Polling was peaceful.
"There is no report of any untoward incident from anywhere in the poll-bound areas.
Long queues were seen even before the opening of the polling booth at 8 a.m. and people are still waiting in some of the polling stations even after the polling officially ended at 5 p.m.," returning officer Sankar Chakraborty told IANS by phone from Sonamura sub-divisional headquarters.
The official said that the Election Commission has also appointed a record number of four central observers to oversee the by-election, which was necessitated following the death of ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist(CPI-M) legislator Sukumar Barman March 10.
Though four candidates are contesting the by-election, the main contest is between the CPI-M's Tapan Chandra Das and the Congress's nominee Dwijendralal Majumder.
To make the crucial by-poll trouble-free, over 600 Border Security Force (BSF), several hundred Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Tripura State Rifles (TSR) troopers were deployed in and around the assembly segment since Sunday, turning the entire constituency into a fortress.
The counting of ballots will be held June 15. Political observers feel that the by-poll, coming some months ahead of the elections to the 60-seat assembly in the lone Left-ruled state, is politically significant for both the ruling Left parties and the opposition Congress.
Elections to the Tripura state assembly are scheduled in February 2013. Top CPI-M leaders, including Chief Minister and CPI-M politburo member Manik Sarkar, and senior Congress leaders party general secretary Luizinho Faleiro, state Congress president Sudip Roy Barman and Leader of Opposition Ratan Lal Nath had campaigned in the by-poll.
The Nalchar assembly constituency had been won six times by the CPI-M and two times by the Congress since Tripura became a full-fledged state in February 1972.