Counting of votes begins for tenth Tripura Assembly election

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Agartala, Mar 7 (UNI) Counting of votes for the 60-member Tripura Assembly, elections for which were held on February 23, began at 0800 hrs here this morning.

The Election Commission had made elaborate arrangements for the smooth counting of votes in the state.

Apart from about 700 observers and 2,500 counting personnel, the EC had made a three-tier security arrangement around each counting hall at 19 stations of Tripura, while imposing several restrictions on the political parties during the counting.

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) G S G Ayyangar said the counting would be conducted on 707 tables and the first layer of security manned by central security forces, while two others will be guarded by TSR jawans.

The CEO held meetings with all the district-level election officials and asked the officials concerned, including District Magistrates, Returning Officers and counting personnel to make the process trouble free and uphold the record of model election.

Tripura had set an all-time record with 91.38 per cent of over two million voters exercising their franchise to elect 60 new Legislators to the Assembly.

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

Prominent among those, whose fate will be decided, are incumbent Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, two former Chief Ministers Samir Ranjan Barman and Sudhir Ranjan Majumdar (both Congress).

Two other important figures of the Congress-INPT alliance are Maharani Bibhukumari Devi and militant-turned-Legislator Bijoy Kumar Harangkhwal.

The electoral fortunes of 313 candidates, including 31 women and 64 Independents, will be decided today.

The CPI(M) alone put up candidates in 56 seats, while its alliance partners CPI and RSP contested two seats each.

The Congress was in the fray in 47 seats, while its two allies - INPT and PDS - fought it out in eleven and two seats respectively.

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