Over 81% polling recorded in Tripura in the first phase

Agartala: Over 81 per cent of the total of 13,47,381 electorates voted on Thursday for the first phase of balloting in Tripura West parliamentary seat, officials said.

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sriram Taranikanti said after receiving the final reports from all the district magistrates (district electoral officers) that the polling percentage might increase.

“After examining the reports of the central observers, DEOs and facts and evidences of the webcasting of polling, decision of re-polling, if any, would be taken on Friday,” the CEO said, admitting that there were official reports of some threats and disturbances in some parts of the constituency.

In 2014, the final polling percentage in Tripura was 85 per cent. The other Lok Sabha constituency in the state — Tripura East — goes to the polls in the second phase on April 18.

No major incident, barring a clash between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers in Charilam in Sepahijala district, was reported on Thursday, a police officer said.

Ten people were injured in the Charilam incident, said police spokesperson Subrata Chakraborty.

“At some places, people tried to prevent voters from voting but were thwarted by the security personnel,” Chakraborty told IANS.

Voting was temporarily halted at some polling stations due to the malfunctioning of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) units, said Election Commission officials.

The voting on Thursday began under heavy security at 7 a.m. and officially ended at 5 p.m.

“However, many voters were still in the queue at different polling stations beyond 5 p.m.,” a poll official said.

A total of 13,47,381 electorates were eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the fate of the 13 candidates in the Tripura West constituency.

The main contest here is between BJP candidate Pratima Bhoumik (50), Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Front nominee Sankar Prasad Datta (61) and Subal Bhowmik (58), who quit the state BJP Vice President’s post to become a Congress aspirant last month.