Tripura will goes to polls on February 14 to elect 60 assembly members. 249 candidates in the fray, where the three heavy weights Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, Sudip Ray Barman, president of TPCC, and Bijay Hrangkhawl, president of Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura were among the list.
The Left Front, who have been ruling the state for four consecutive term is still hoping its fifth. The Left Front dominant’s CPI-M is contesting 56 seats, RSP two and CPI and Forward Block one each.
The Congress is contesting 48 seats and its alliance partners INPT in 11 and National Conference of Tripura in one.
The candidates include 14 women, who are four less than those who had contested in the 2008 elections. An electorate of 23,52,505 including 11,64,656 women are expected to cash their votes in the election contested by a total of 16 political parties and independents.
Prominent leaders who campaigned in the run-up to the election include Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, Union minister Deepa Das Munshi, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, CPI-M leaders Prakash Karat, Sitaram Yechury, Surya Kanta Mishra and Brinda Karat.
Tripura have 3,041 booths in total, of which 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 in the state to maintain law and order. The Border Security Force has sealed the 856-km border with Bangladesh and deployed additional forces to prevent infiltration.
Rahul Gandhi campaigns
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi in second day of campaigning addressed big election rallies in Agartala and Kumarghat in north Tripura on Tuesday. Mr. Gandhi addressed four rallies on Feb 11, where he assured to implement pledges made in party’s election manifesto.
“We would provide employment in every household, give allowance to unemployed youths, hike salary of state government employees as per central government and sanction free ration to poorest people”, he highlighted at rallies in Agartala and Kumarghat on Feb 12.
While criticizing the Left Front govt in Tripura, Union Minister for Finance Chidambaram says Tripura is one of the poorest states in the country where 67 per cent of the people live below poverty line. He assured that the Congress manifesto would be implemented in letter and spirit in the state if it is voted to power and unemployment problem would be ‘properly addressed’, PTI reports.
Left refutes Congress charges
CPI(M) Polit Bureau members Sitaram Yechury, Brinda Karat and central committee members Mohammad Salim, Suhashini Ali and Surya Kanta Mishra in their whirlwind campaign flayed Congress – INPT alliance. They addressed altogether 43 rallies in last five days to counter star campaigners of Congress party.
“He (Rahul) is speaking irrelevant, he should know people will never bring down left front as it earnestly works for them. He should concentrate in Uttar Pradesh where his party faced humiliating defeat”, said Ms. Karat at Jolaibari in South Tripura. Mr. Yechury in his last rally at Stable Ground in Agartala urged people to vote for left front to maintain peace, prosperity and stability.
Meanwhile, sporadic incidents of clash and intimidation reported from different parts of the state. Two people were injured when Congress–CPI(M) supporters clashed at Khayerpur near Agartala in the afternoon.
Hundreds of Congress supporters staged protest outside West Agartala Police station after miscreants attacked a party vehicle in Pratapgarh. Senior PCC leaders pacified angry party men.
Tension between contesting political parties erupted in few other areas. Elaborate security arrangements have been made to hold a peaceful election in the state on February 14.
The Election Commission has formed flying squads and Static Surveillance Teams to combat the menace of cash doles and bribes and carrying of illegal arms.
(Courtesy: PTI/ ANI/ TOI/ News Agencies)