Tripura bypolls record 76.62% turnout; Oppn allege rigging, BJP jubilant

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The by-elections to the four assembly constituencies in Tripura on Thursday recorded 76.62 per cent voter turnout till 5 pm, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Kiran Gitte said.

The polling process was largely peaceful, barring a few sporadic incidents, including the stabbing of off-duty police constable Samir Saha in Kunjaban area in Agartala constituency, he said.

Saha is at present undergoing treatment at a hospital, he added.

Opposition Congress demanded repoll in four booths of Agartala constituency, claiming largescale rigging, while TMC alleged that “democracy was murdered” in the name of by-elections.

The ruling BJP exuded confidence in winning all the four seats where elections were held.

Jubarajnagar assembly constituency recorded the highest voter turnout at 80.41 per cent, while Surma constituency saw 80 per cent polling.

Town Bardowali assembly constituency, where Chief Minister Manik Saha is the BJP candidate, recorded the lowest turnout at 69.54 per cent. In the Agartala seat, 76.72 per cent turnout was recorded.

The state had recorded 87 per cent voter turnout in the 2018 assembly elections.

The polling started at 7 am and went on till late in the evening in some booths as long queues were seen in the last hours.

“We have not received any major complaint regarding voting,” Gitte said.

A total of 1,89,032 voters were eligible to exercise their franchise in the by-elections.

The chief minister exuded confidence about the party’s prospects in all four seats.

“Voters queued up at the booths and exercised their democratic right in a festive mood. We are 100 percent sure of winning the four seats. The turnout was good, which indicates people’s confidence in the ruling BJP,” he said.

The Congress demanded re-polling in four booths of Agartala constituency where the party’s Sudip Roy Barman is pitted against BJP’s Ashok Sinha.

“We congratulate the people who voted for the Congress, defying the attacks, threats and intimidation. The party will soon demand repoll in four booths of Agartala constituency for largescale irregularities,” state Congress president Birajit Sinha said.

“Despite all attempts to prevent the voters, a large number of people turned up at polling stations and cast their votes. The moderate turnout in Town Bardowali constituency is a good sign for the Congress,” said Asish Saha, who is the Congress candidate against the chief minister.

Manik Saha needs to win this election to continue as the chief minister of the state. He is a Rajya Sabha MP who was sworn in last month after then CM Biplab Deb’s sudden resignation.

The TMC, which is trying to make inroads in the state, alleged largescale rigging by “BJP-backed goons”.

“A police constable was stabbed by BJP-backed goons, while the party’s Surma candidate was attacked. Several fake voters were seen in the queues. Democracy has been murdered in the name of by-elections,” alleged TMC’s state in-charge Rajib Banerje.

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