Over 76.62% polling in Tripura bye-polls for 4 Assembly seats

AGARTALA: Over 76.62 per cent of the 1,89,032-strong electorate cast their votes on Thursday in the bye-elections to four Assembly constituencies in Tripura, amid some stray incidents of violence, officials said.

A police spokesman said that police constable Samir Saha was stabbed by unknown miscreants at Ujan Abhoynagar under the Agartala Assembly constituency.

Family members of Saha, who was admitted to the hospital in a critical condition, alleged that “goons of the ruling BJP attacked him”.

In another incident, a man fell into a canal on the outskirts of the capital city when some workers of a political party tried to attack him.

Disaster response forces are now conducting search operations to locate him.

According to police, there were reports of intimidation and clashes in different places of the Agartala, Town Bordowali, Surma, and Jubarajnagar Assembly constituencies in three districts — West Tripura, North Tripura and Dhalai.

Opposition parties, including Trinamool Congress, Congress and CPI-M-led Left, have alleged that BJP supporters and their goons have launched a series of attacks, intimidated and prevented people from voting and indulged in booth capturing while security forces did nothing.

The BJP leaders, however, denied the allegations.

Central and State security forces were deployed to hold the vital bye-elections, which are being termed as a ‘semi-final’ before the elections to the 60-member Assembly early next year.

In all, the electorate would decide the political fortune of 22 candidates, including seven women.

The focus of the important bye-elections is on the Town Bordowali Assembly constituency, where 69-year-old Congress-turned-BJP leader and Chief Minister Manik Saha is contesting against five other candidates.

The month-long campaign for the bye-polls was also marred by violent incidents. Former BJP minister Sudip Roy Barman, who is now contesting from the Agartala constituency on a Congress ticket, was injured when “BJP activists” allegedly attacked him late on Sunday night. Barman, a five-time MLA from the Agartala constituency, is under treatment even as he is supervising the electioneering.

The bye-polls were necessitated after the resignation of three BJP MLAs and the death of CPI-M legislator Ramendra Chandra Debnath.

The votes will be counted on June 26. (IANS)

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