CPI(M) takes early lead in 16 seats in Tripura

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Agartala, Mar 7 (UNI) The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has taken an early lead in 16 of the 60-assembly seats in Tripura, with incumbent Chief Minister Manik Sarkar leading by over 2,000 votes from his Bhanpur seat.

Mr Sarkar is leading by over 2,000 votes from Bhanpur constituency in West Tripura over his nearest rival Congress candidate Saha Alam. He has been winning from this seat for three consecutive terms.

According to other early trends, CPI(M) is flexing its muscle in South Tripura leading in Manu, Ompi, Sabrom, Radhakishorepur, Matabari and Birganj Assembly constituencies. They have also taken a sizable lead in Kadamtala, Kurti and Pabiachora constituencies in North Tripura and Barjola, Asharambari, Teliamura and Khoai in West Tripura.

The Congress leads in Kailashabha, Krishnanagar and Belonia.

The Election Commission (EC) has made all arrangements for the smooth counting of votes in the state which began here at 0800 hrs this morning.

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.

(EDS: Picking suitably from previous series) UNI BB BA MS RAI1032

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