89.8 percent of the over 25.73 lakh voters exercised their franchise for the Assembly polls on Sunday, 18 February, in Tripura, where the BJP is trying to dislodge the Left Front after an unbroken 25-year stint in power.
The CPI(M) is contesting in 57 seats and the other Left Front constituents - the RSP, Forward Bloc and CPI - in one seat each. The BJP, which has forged an alliance with tribal outfit Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT), has fielded 51 candidates. IPFT is contesting in the remaining nine seats. The Congress is going alone in Tripura this time and is contesting in 59 seats.
- Polling was concluded in 59 of the total 60 seats
- The BJP is the main challenger to the ruling Left Front, which has been in power in the state for the last 25 years
- The BJP held a high-voltage campaign with Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing as many as four rallies in the state
- Manik Sarkar, who is running for his fifth term as the chief minister, led the CPI(M)’s campaign addressing around 50 rallies in the state
- Other Left leaders like Sitaram Yechury and Brinda Karat lent support to the party’s campaign
- Counting of votes would be done on 3 March
- Voting in Charilam Assembly constituency would be held on 12 March
Security Tightened in Poll-Bound Tripura: DGP Agartala
Security has been tightened in Tripura for the Assembly polls, the state's Director General of Police (DGP) Akhil Kumar Shukla announced on 16 February. He said central armed forces (CAP) were deployed across the state along with state armed personnel and police. The Border Security Force (BSF) has been asked to keep a close vigil along the 856-kilometre-long Indo-Bangla border in the state, he said.
Adequate central paramilitary forces (CPF) and state police were deployed across the state, the DGP told reporters, adding that altogether 300 companies of central paramilitary forces have been deployed on election duty.
Strict security measures have been taken to check inter-state movement of weapons and other goodies and the matter was also taken up with the neighbouring Assam police and Mizoram police, Shukla added.
Stiff Competition for Left and Congress
Though Brinda Karat, former party secretary Prakash Karat, MP Muhammad Selim and West Bengal Left Front Convener Biman Bose chipped in, CM Manik Sarkar was the star campaigner of the Left.
Sarkar addressed at least 35 rallies for party candidates across the state. He also devoted considerable time on his own seat Dhanpur where he addressed 15 rallies.
The Congress, a principal rival of Left Front all these years, is witnessing a serious challenge from BJP this time. Congress President Rahul Gandhi visited Tripura on the last day of the campaign and held a rally at Kailashahar.
Gandhi said neither the CPI(M) nor the BJP pay attention to development and said the Congress is the only party which can deliver good governance.
Former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi admitted that Congress’s chances in the upcoming state Assembly elections in Tripura looked bleak but “that is no reason” why the Congress shouldn’t put up a fight, Indian Express reported.
The Congress had secured 36.53 percent votes in the 2013 Assembly polls and had 10 MLAs. But now it has only two.
Six of them had switched over first to the Trinamool Congress and later to the BJP. One more MLA of the party joined the BJP recently while another one lost his seat to CPI(M) in a by-poll. In the previous 2013 state poll, 50 seats were won by the Left Front led by CPI(M).
BJP Has High Hopes After Alliance With IPFT
Seeking to expand its imprint in the North-East, BJP has forged alliance with Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) and hopes to benefit in 20 tribal seats. PM Modi sounded the party’s poll bugle in Tripura with two rallies on 8 February. He had asked the voters to throw away ‘Manik’ (Manik Sarkar government) and go for “HIRA (H for highways, I for Internet way, R for roadways and A for airways)”.
Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley released the BJP’s poll manifesto for Tripura.
While BJP chief Amit Shah addressed public rallies roadshows, firebrand party leader and UP CM Yogi Adityanath also sought votes for the party nominees.
After loss of its stronghold West Bengal, it would be interesting to see if the Left will be able to protect its fort in Tripura. During the campaign rally on 31 January in Agartala, CPI(M) party General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said the Prime Minister Narendra Modi wave will be stopped in Tripura.
Seats, Candidates, Voters: All You Need to Know
With campaigning ending this evening, all eyes are now on the voting on Sunday.
- A total 25,734,13 voters, male 13,05,375, female 12,68,027 and 11 from the third gender are eligible cast their vote on 18 February. There are 47,803 new voters in 2018 polls.
- State Election office said that there are 47 all-women managed polling stations out of total 3,214 in the state.
- In 2013, CPI(M) had polled 48.11 percent of the total votes. At the time, the BJP bagged 1.54 percent of the total votes.
- Out of a total of 60 seats in Tripura, 30 constituencies are general, 20 (Reserved ST) and 10 ( Reserved SC).
- The term of the 60-member Assembly ends on 14 March.
- CM Manik Sarkar hopes to register his fifth straight victory from his home constituency, Dhanpur in Sipahijala district.
- Congress' Laxmi Nag is up against Sarkar from the constituency, bordering Bangladesh
- The BJP has fielded its state general secretary Pratima Bhowmick from the seat. This is the second time Bhowmick is pitted against Sarkar. She fought and lost the elections from this seat in 1998.
High Drama Campaign Ends in Tripura
The high-decibel campaign ended in Tripura on 16 February. The BJP, that hopes to leave its mark in the Left state has pulled out all the stops to campaign, while the Congress has taken a relatively relaxed stance, with party chief Rahul Gandhi addressing poll rallies only on the last day.
Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, who is seeking fifth term from his home constituency of Dhanpur, even stated that the main contest is between CPI(M) and the BJP in the 18 February assembly polls for 60 seats.
Polling Begins, PM Asks People To Vote
Polling began in the northeastern state of Tripura at 7 am on Sunday, 18 February.
Polling is being held in 59 of the total 60 seats. Voting in Charilam Assembly constituency would be held on 12 March due to the death of the CPI(M) candidate for the seat, Ramendra Narayan Deb Barma, five days ago.
Twenty seats have been reserved for the scheduled tribes.
PM Narendra Modi took to Twitter to appeal to citizens to vote
Tripura BJP Chief Casts His Vote
BJP Tripura President Biplab Kumar Deb cast his vote at booth number 31/34 in Udaipur, reported ANI.
Expressing confidence of the party’s victory, he said the election results will be historic. He also said PM Modi and party president Amit Shah called him and gave good wishes.
CM Manik Sarkar Cast Vote in Agartala
Tripura saw 9 percent voter turnout in the first two hours of voting, reported ANI.
Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar also cast his vote in Agartala. He is an MLA from the Dhanpur constituency.
Sarkar, who is running for his fifth term as the chief minister, led the CPI(M)’s campaign in the state.
23.25% Voter Turnout Recorded Till 11am
The ongoing voting in Tripura saw a 23.25 percent voter turnout till 11am, reported ANI. It saw 9 percent voter turnout in the first two hours of voting, till 9 am.
45.86% Voter Turnout Till 1 pm, Ram Madhav Confident of Victory
The ongoing voting in Tripura saw a 45.86% voter turnout till 1.00 pm, reported ANI. BJP national secretary, Ram Madhav said that people will respond to Prime Minister Modi’s call.
Voting Going on Smoothly: EC
Sriram Taranikanti, Chief Electoral Officer Tripura said that the voting was going on smoothly and hoped that the momentum goes on.
65% Turnout Till 3pm: EC
The Election Commission has said that there has been 65 percent turnout till 3pm. Even though polling was supposed to stop at 4pm, it is continuing in places where people had queued up.
VVPAT Used For The First Time In Tripura: EC
The Election Commission said that VVPAT machines were used for the first time in Tripura. They added that there were several complaints of malfunctioning EVMs, many of which turned out to be false. The EC added that a probe has been ordered to look into the faulty EVMs.
In total, 12 ballots have been replaced.
Polling To Be Held On 12 March In One Constituency: EC
The Election Commission said that polling in one constituency will be held on 12 March, as it had to be rescheduled due to the demands of one candidate.
74% Turnout Till 4pm, Number Likely To Increase: EC
Addressing the press after polling, Chief Electoral Officer Sriram Taranikanti said that voter turnout is 74 percent till 4pm, and is likely to increase as people are still queuing up. He also added that no incident of violence was reported in the state. Two crude bombs were recovered but disposed of.
Voting Still Underway: EC
The Election Commission announced that the voter turnout till now (around 9 pm) is 78.56 percent and that voting was still underway at few polling stations.
Tripura Records 89.8% Voter Turnout: EC
An impressive 89.8 percent of the over 25.73 lakh electors came out to vote in the Tripura Assembly polls on Sunday, 18 February, the Election Commission said.
Polling continued till 12:30 am in many booths and so, the final polling percentage was not available on Sunday, state Chief Electoral Officer Sriram Taranikanti told reporters in Agartala.
A spokesperson on Monday said that the "final figure" was 89.80 percent. In the last Assembly election in 2013, the voter turnout was recorded at 91.82 percent, while in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, it was 84.32 percent.
Both the Left Front, which is headed by the CPI-M, and its main challenger, the BJP, thanked the electorate for the heavy turnout.