Tripura polls begins amid tight security

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Agartala, Feb 23 : Voting in the single-phase elections in Tripura began amid tight security early on Saturday morning.

At stake for all contesting candidates are 60 Assembly seats.

The Union Government has deployed 20,000 paramilitary personnel from the Border Security Force (BSF), the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to keep a check on insurgency and maintain security in violence-prone areas of the State.

A record 60,000 security personnel have been deployed backed by air surveillance to ensure free and fair polls.

Over 20 lakh voters will decide the fate of 313 candidates, including 30 female aspirants and 64 independents.

he number of male voters estimated at 10, 38,745, while the female voters is pegged at 9,99,272.

In all, 2391 polling stations have been set up of which 108 have been identified as sensitive.

The Election Commission has deployed 750 micro observers to assist 60 general observers in overseeing the election process.

The ruling CPI (M)-led Left Front is locked in a direct fight with the opposition Congress-Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) alliance.

According to reports in various newspapers, prominent among those in the fray are Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, Information Minster Anil Sarkar, the PCC president and former chief Minister, Samir Ranjan Barman, the former Chief Minister and Congress leader, Sudhir Ranjan Mazumdar, and the former underground leader, Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhal of the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Twipra (INPT).

The CPI(M) has put up 56 candidates, while its two ruling Left Front allies - the CPI and the RSP - are fielding candidates in two constituencies each. The Congress has put up candidates for 48 seats, while its allies - the INPT and the Party for Democratic Socialism - are contesting 12 seats in all.

In 2003, the Left Front won 41 seats, the Congress 13 and its ally INPT six.

The counting of ballots will take place on March 7.

ANI

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