The election to the East Tripura Loksabha constituency, which was earlier postponed, was held on Tuesday amid high security. The polling was peaceful except a few stray incidents and allegations of security excesses in some places.
To ensure free and fair polls, the Election Commission has appointed Special Poll Observer Vinod Zutshi, a Special Police Observer, three police observers and several observers. The EC had postponed the polling for five days citing serious law and order situation in the constituency comprising 30 Assembly segments.
Despite soaring heat, long queues of voters were seen in all 1,645 polling stations, which were guarded by the Central and State paramilitary forces. Voting was stalled in at least four centres for few hours owing to malfunctioning of electronic voting machines (EVMs), but resumed after the replacement of machines. State Election department predicted 82 to 83% voting in East Tripura.
Over 83% polling was recorded in the West Tripura constituency, which was marred by allegations of mass rigging and intimidation.
Police arrested at least 10 presiding officers, polling agents and micro observers and sent notice to 10 others to join probe after West Tripura Returning Officers found ‘truth’ in booth capturing charges in at least seven places.
The BJP claimed that the deferment of election in East Tripura was reflection of ‘false allegations over rigging and malpractices from Congress and CPI(M)’.
A section of 9,330 security personnel, mostly from paramilitary forces, deployed in the East constituency committed excesses, the party alleged.
The BJP said the troops assaulted its leaders and supporters in some places and a delegation of party met Mr. Zutshi demanding redress of grievances.
The State Election department said the election was peaceful and it had not received any major complaint from any political party.