Voters of Raima Assembly Constituency travelling by boats in Dumbur Lake in Dhalai district of Tripura to cast their votes during Assembly Elections 2023.
Voters of Raima Assembly Constituency travelling by boats in Dumbur Lake in Dhalai district of Tripura to cast their votes during Assembly Elections 2023. Credit: Twitter/@ceotripura

Agartala: Casting of votes for the 60-member Tripura State Assembly started on Thursday morning in altogether 3,337 polling stations set up across the state.

According to the Election Commission, the polling started at 7 am and will continue till 4 pm.

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The assembly elections of 2023 assume significance as for the first time the Northeastern state is witnessing a triangular contest between CPIM-Cong combine, ruling BJP and the regional TIPRA, a party often described as the “kingmaker” in the context of these polls.

Apart from that, parties like Trinamool Congress, Amra Bangali and some marginal players are also in the contest, but their presence might not make any impact on the polls.

As many as 259 candidates from different political parties, including 58 independent candidates, are in the contest.

Moreover, 31 women candidates from different parties are also in the fray.

After the Bru Migrants from Mizoram were resettled in the State of #Tripura, they exercised their right to vote for the first time in the State.
Bru Migrants from Mizoram exercise their right to vote for the first time after being resettled in Tripura

Also Read | Violence rocks poll-bound Tripura on last day of campaigning  

Meanwhile, Chief Electoral Officer Kiran Gitte on Wednesday said that foolproof security arrangements have been put in place to conduct free and fair polls.

“We have made all the necessary arrangements to conduct fair polls. We are even extra cautious about technical snags and we are hopeful of an error-free poll,” the senior poll official told media persons on the sidelines of his visit to Umakanta Academy School from where the poll parties have been departing for election duty. 

“There are altogether 3,337 polling stations and polling parties and paramilitary staff have been leaving for these stations. We call this exercise “polling day minus one” which literally means officials leaving for polling stations a day before the elections. There was a time when poll parties had to travel two days before the day of polling,” said Gitte, adding that it was a big achievement for the state.

Polling officers leaving for election duty

Also Read | Will quit politics after Tripura polls, Tipra chairman Pradyot says

As many as 1,100 polling stations have been identified to be critical. “In normal polling stations, half sections of security personnel are deployed while in critical ones a full section is assigned.”

According to him, all polling stations are on the main road. Poll officials need not walk more than 300 meters to reach the station after getting off the vehicle. All facilities for Persons with Disabilities, drinking water, electricity, floodlighting, toilet, waiting sheds, etc had been installed. Separate queues for old-age voters will also be arranged for the aged voters. 

On the technical aspects of the poll, Gitte said, “We have imparted proper training to all the officials. Along with zero poll violence, we are also committed to conducting the polls with zero errors.” 

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Also Read | Tripura 2023: PM restless over Left-Cong alliance, says Manik Sarkar

To a query on the security deployment, the official stated that more than enough security personnel would be deployed for poll duty. 

“For the last one and half months paramilitary forces, state police, and Tripura State Rifles troopers have worked in collaboration to create an atmosphere suitable for free and fair elections. This year, incidents of violence have decreased by 30 per cent. We have introduced an emergency chopper service so that we can dispatch quick response teams in case of any emergency situation arising out of poll-related conflicts. We hope this time, Tripura will create a new record of voter turnout in the state,” the official said.

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Despite repeated appeals from the Election of Commission of India, incidents of low-intensity violence continued to be reported from parts of the state. In the last three days, several party activists affiliated with the BJP and Congress party suffered injuries in clashes at various parts of the Sepahijala district.  

It is worth to be mentioned here that BJP is contesting in altogether 55 assembly constituencies with ally IPFT fighting for five seats. The Congress has fielded candidates in 13 assembly constituencies, extending support to 46 Left Front and one independent candidate in the remaining seats. TIPRA is fighting from 42 seats while Trinamool Congress has also fielded candidates in 28 seats all over the states.  

The results of the polls will be out on March 2, 2023.

Also Read | If voted to power in Tripura, Left-Cong will implement old pension scheme: CPI(M)

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