40 per cent voting in Tripura till noon

An estimated 40 per cent of the voters exercised their franchise till noon as long queues were seen before the booths in a so-far peaceful polling for the 60-member Tripura Assembly today, official sources said.

Chief minister Manik Sarkar casted his vote in the morning at a booth in Umakanta school in Ramnagar constituency.

Voting was stopped at Sonamura in west Tripura district and Dharmanagar in south Tripura district following some technical problem in the electronic voting machines. New EVMs were installed and voting resumed after 10 minutes of stoppage, officials said.

Election Commission sources said about 40 per cent of the voters had exercised their franchise till noon.

Elections to the Tripura Assembly, to which the Left Front hopes to return for the record fifth time, began at seven am amidst tight security, the sources said.

An electorate of 23,52,505, including 11,64,656 women, are exercising their franchise in the election being contested by 249 candidates belonging to 16 political parties besides independents.

With the main contest between the Left Front and the Congress, CPI(M), the dominant partner in the LF is contesting 55 seats, Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) two and CPI two and Forward Block one.

The Congress is contesting 48 seats and its alliance partners the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Twipra (INPT) in 11 and National Conference of Tripura in one.

Of the 3,041 booths, 409 have been identified as very sensitive (A+), 535 booths as very sensitive (A) and 726 booths as sensitive.

Altogether 250 companies of central paramilitary forces have been deployed to maintain law and order.

The BSF has sealed the 856 km-long border with Bangladesh and deployed additional forces to prevent infiltration.

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