Vote counting begins in Tripura

Counting of votes commenced Thursday in Tripura, elections to whose 60-seat assembly were held Feb 14, officials said.

"Counting of ballots were underway in 60 halls in 17 venues simultaneously since 8 a.m. Trends are expected soon, while final results are likely to be out by afternoon," Tripura chief electoral officer Ashutosh Jidal told IANS.

"First counting of 38,560 ballots of polling and security personnel, who have cast their votes through postal ballots, would be counted then normal votes, polled through EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines)," he said.

The ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) led Left Front is pitted against the Congress-INPT (Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura) and NCT (Nationalist Conference of Tripura) alliance in the poll battle for political supremacy in Tripura having 3.7 million population, one third of which are tribals.

Thursday's result will decide the fate of Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, his 11 cabinet colleagues, former chief minister and veteran Congress leader Samir Ranjan Burman his son and state Congress chief Sudip Roy Barman, opposition leader Ratan Lal Nath, INPT president and former militant leader Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawl and a host of other leaders.

The Left Front has been in power since 1978, barring one term during 1988 to 1993.
In the last elections in 2008, the Left registered a thumping victory. The CPI-M alone won 46 seats and partners Communist Party of India and Revolutionary Socialist Party secured one and two seats respectively. The Congress bagged 10 seats and the INPT one.

The northeastern state of Tripura made electoral history when a record 93.57 percent of the 23,55,446 electorates have cast their ballots in Feb 14 election to the 60-seat assembly.

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