Two Tripura assembly by-polls on Saturday

Agartala, Nov 18 (IANS) Security measures have been tightened for by-elections to two Tripura assembly seats scheduled for Saturday, officials said on Friday.

Both opposition and ruling parties are considering these by-polls as “prestigious electoral battles”.

The Election Commission will conduct the by-elections in the Scheduled Caste (Reserved) Barjala and Khowai assembly constituencies.

“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.

He said: “Besides the central para-military forces, adequate numbers of state forces, including elite and counter-insurgency trained TSR (Tripura State Rifles), would be deployed in the vicinity of the Barjala and Khowai assembly constituencies.”

The Election Commission has appointed three central observes to oversee the polling in the two assembly seats.

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.

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.

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.