Polling begins for Tripura by-polls

Agartala, Nov 19 (IANS) Polling for the two assembly seats in Tripura began on Saturday morning amidst tight security measures.

The by-elections are being held in the scheduled caste reserve Barjala and Khowai assembly constituencies.

“There is no report of any untowards incidents from anywhere in the two assembly seats. Balloting remained peaceful so far,” police spokesman Uttam Bhowmik told IANS.

He said that in both the counstituencies some Electronic Voting Machines during voting developed technical snags causing stopping of polling for some times, but balloting resumed after the problems were fixed.

“Heavy security arrangements were made to hold the by-elections in both the assembly segments peacefully and smoothly. Over nine companies of central para-military force — BSF (Border Security Force) and CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) — have been deployed in the poll-bound assembly segments and their adjoining areas,” Director General of Tripura Police K. Nagaraj told IANS.

“Besides the central para-military forces, adequate numbers of state forces, including elite and counter-insurgency trained TSR (Tripura State Rifles), have also been deployed in the vicinity of the Barjala and Khowai assembly constituencies,” the police chief added.

The Barjala seat fell vacant after Congress legislator Jitendra Sarkar resigned on June 6 following an internal feud within the party while the Khowai seat has been vacant since the death of veteran CPI-M legislator Samir Deb Sarkar.

Five candidates each are contesting from the two constituencies. In all 39,007 voters, including 18,935 females, will be eligible to cast ballot in the Barjala constituency. In Khowai, 39,400 voters are eligible, among them 19,436 are women.

Both by-polls would be four-cornered contests, among Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led ruling Left Front, Trinamool Congress (TMC), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress.