The ruling BJP used the turnout to punch holes in the claims of the Opposition Left Front-Congress combine that there is no democracy and no law and order in the state
Tripura turned out to vote in huge numbers in Thursday’s single-phase Assembly election which was by and large peaceful. The turnout till 4pm, the official closing time for voting, was 81.10 per cent. It was bound to rise with long queues of voters reported from most polling stations.
State polling officials and contesting political parties were expecting the final turnout could cross 89.38 per cent, recorded in the 2018 polls.
The ruling BJP used the turnout to punch holes in the claims of the Opposition Left Front-Congress combine that there is no democracy and no law and order in the state. The Opposition, which had made the restoration of democracy and peace their key poll plank, said the turnout was because of their sustained appeals to voters to come out in large numbers to “restore” democracy.
Polling for the 60 Assembly seats got underway from 7am across 3,337 polling stations, having a total voter count of 28,14,584 amid tight security cover. Among the 259 candidates whose fate was sealed in the EVMs included chief minister Manik Saha of the BJP, CPM state secretary Jiten Chaudhury, PCC president Birajit Sinha, Union minister of state Pratima Bhoumik and deputy chief minister Jishnu Dev Varma.
Tripura’s chief electoral officer (CEO) Gitte Kirankumar Dinkarrao had told media persons around noon that “this election was very special” because it was “inclusive and transparent”, adding he was hopeful the turnout would eventually cross the 2018 percentage and there would be no repolling this time round. No repolling has been ordered till 8pm.
Gitte and a senior police official said polling was overall peaceful barring some stray incidents which were promptly addressed. Most of these incidents were related to intimidation of voters and there were no major injuries, the police official said. At least three persons were hurt, including a CPM worker, sources said.
The Mission Zero Poll Violence, undertaken by the state election authorities, and the deployment of a huge number of security personnel were among the reasons for the overall peaceful polling. BJP media in-charge Sunit Sarkar told Press meet that the turnout has proved that democracy is alive and thriving in Tripura despite claims of the Opposition to the contrary.
“Why is there such a huge turnout if there is no democracy? No major incident or casualty has been reported till now. People in our state are active and politically conscious. We have worked for the people. The success of our welfare schemes is reflected in the turnout. We are winning more than 40 plus seats,” Sarkar said.