Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday urged all citizens of Tripura to cast their votes as the polling for the Tripura Assembly elections began on Thursday amid tight security.
Polling kicked off at at 7 am and will continue till 4 pm. “Urging our sisters and brothers of Tripura to cast their vote to ensure that a development-oriented government is formed and the era of peace and progress that has already started continues smoothly. Come out and vote for a prosperous Tripura,” Shah tweeted.
According to Election Commission, there are 28.14 lakh eligible voters in this year’s polls of which 14,15,233 are men, 13,99,289 are women and 62 belong to the third gender.
Voting is underway at 3,337 polling stations across the Northeast state.
Adequate security arrangements have been made for the polls, with as many as 97 all-women police stations. The polls this year will see 94,815 voters in the age group of 18-19 years and 6,21,505 in the age group of 22-29 years. The highest number of voters are in the 40-59 age group, at 9,81,089.
The fates of the 259 candidates vying for 60 Assembly seats will be sealed on Thursday.
The BJP is locked in a triangular contest this year, with the Congress-CPM fighting in alliance and the Trinamool Congress seeking expand its footprint in the Northeast state. However, it is the Tipra Motha, an alliance of regional outfits representing indigenous communities floated by royal scion Pradyot Kishore Debbarma in 2021, which is seen as a dark horse in this year’s Assembly polls.
The Tipra Motha, which has raised visions of a Greater Tipraland, may emerge as a kingmaker in the event of a hung House.
However, the ruling BJP hopes to return for a second straight term at the hustings and will go into the electoral contest in alliance with the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT).
The Trinamool Congress, which is the ruling party in neighbouring West Bengal, has put up candidates in several seats and hopes to spring a surprise on the BJP and other formidable players on Tripura’s political landscape.
The BJP is contesting 55 seats, leaving the remaining six seats for all IPFT to contest. However, both allies have fielded candidates in the Ampinagar constituency in the Gomati district.
The Left will contest 47 and Congress on 13 seats, respectively. Of the total 47 seats, the CPM will contest 43 seats while the Forward Bloc, Communist Party of India ( CPI) and Revolutionary Socialist Party ( RSP) will contest one seat each.
Tripura is the first state to go to the polls this year. While polling for Nagaland and Meghalaya assemblies will be held on February 27, five more states face elections this year in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections in 2024.
A total of 259 candidates, including 20 women, are in the fray in Tripura. The counting of votes will be done on March 2.
This time, the BJP has fielded 12 women candidates. The saffron party, which had never won a single seat in Tripura before 2018, stormed to power in the last election in alliance with IPFT and ousted the Left Front which had been in power in the border state for 35 years since 1978.
BJP won 36 seats in the assembly and got 43.59 per cent of the votes in the 2018 election. The CPI (M) won 16 seats with a 42.22 per cent vote share. The IPFT won eight seats and Congress could not open its account.
The BJP is exuding confidence that it will improve its performance. Party’s top leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and party chief JP Nadda campaigned in the state. (ANI)