Sporadic incidents in Tripura tribal council poll

Voting disrupted at several polling stations owing to complaints of booth jamming, intimidation of voters

Sporadic incidents marred the election to the 28-member Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) held on Tuesday. Voting was disrupted at several polling stations owing to complaints of booth jamming, intimidation of voters and snag in an EVM.

A total 157 candidates of national and regional political parties and some independents are contesting in the election. It was due to be held in May but was deferred due to the pandemic.

A total 8,65,041 voters including 4,36,548 women voters were eligible to exercise the franchise.

The State Election Commission conducted the elections after the High Court of Tripura set May 17 as deadline to complete the process. The counting will take place on April 10.

Though the CPI(M), which administered the TTAADC continuously for 15 years, and the Congress are in the fray, the main contest is expected between the BJP-IPFT alliance and the TIPRA (Tipraha the Indigenous People’s Regional Alliance) — a new political party floated by State’s royal scion Pradyot Kishore Manikya.

Mr. Manikya, who cast his vote in Mandwai, some 30 km east of here, claimed that the TIPRA would win majority in the council that has limited authority over the State’s three-fourth land. He is also a candidate from the Takarjala constituency in Sepahijala district.

East Tripura MP and BJP leader Rebati Tripura hoped that their alliance would sweep the poll. Former Chief Executive Member and CPI(M) leader Radha Charan Debbarma was optimistic of returning to power if a “free and fair election takes place”.

The State Election Commission officials said the election was peaceful barring ‘problems’ in about seven polling stations.

Security forces fired one round in the air to disperse a crowd that ransacked a polling booth at Dhariathal in the Amtali-Golaghati constituency in Sepahijala district. Voting was disrupted for some time.

A few hundred TIPRA supporters mobbed IPFT joint general secretary Mangal Debbarman, also candidate of Simna segment in west Tripura, for allegedly influencing voters inside a a polling booth. Security reinforcements rescued him unharmed.

Voting was suspended in the area for a few hours.

A presiding officer at a station at Chakmapara in west Tripura had to be replaced after he was found asking elderly people to cast vote in favour of a party candidate.

The CPI(M) alleged that its poll agents were forcefully expelled from some polling stations in Jirania of west Tripura. The party also lodged a complaint with the Election Commission against “intimidation, threat and harassment of Left voters” at several places like Jampuijala and Lembucherra.

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