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Agartala, Feb 14 – The over a month long hectic poll campaign for the February 16 Tripura Assembly elections came to an end on Tuesday afternoon. Voting would be held in all the 60 assembly constituencies in 8 districts under a heavy security cover on February 16. Election Officials said that the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), Tripura State Rifles (TSR) and state police personnel have taken up positions in all the constituencies. Around 31,000 polling personnel have either reached or were on the way to their designated 3,327 polling stations in 2504 locations.
Tripura Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Gitte Kirankumar Dinkarrao said a total of 259 candidates, including 31 women, are contesting the February 16 Assembly elections. In the 2018 Assembly polls, 297 candidates, including 24 women, had fought the elections.
A senior police officer said the Ministry of Home Affairs has provided 400 companies (30,000 security personnel) of CAPF for fair and violence-free assembly elections. Besides the CAPF, comprising Assam Rifles, Border Security Force, Central Reserve Police Force, Central Industrial Security Force, around 9,000 TSR jawans and over 6,000 Tripura police personnel have also been deployed, the official told IANS.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed three election rallies in southern, northern and western Tripura while Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president J.P. Nadda addressed many election rallies in different parts of BJP ruled Tripura. Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Sarbananda Sonowal, Smriti Irani, Arjun Munda, Chief Ministers Himanta Biswa Sarma (Assam), Yogi Adityanath (UP), and N. Biren Singh (Manipur), West Bengal’s Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari, MLA Agnimitra Paul, actors Mithun Chakraborty and Hema Malini and many BJP leaders and MPs from outside the state campaigned for the party.
CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury, politburo member Prakash Karat, Brinda Karat, former Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and several other Left leaders campaigned for the candidates of the four Left parties and the Congress. West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee, and the party’s national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee also addressed election rallies in Tripura. Congress’ Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, former union minister and ex MP Deepa Dasmunshi, Congress leader Alka Lamba and a few other central leaders of the party campaigned for the party candidates.
The Congress and the CPI-M led Left Front for the first time in Tripura are contesting the elections jointly under a seat sharing arrangement and they also held joint rallies in different parts of the state. The Left Front put up candidates in 47 seats and allotted 13 seats to the Congress.
The CEO said that of the 259 candidates, the highest number of 55 candidates have been put up by the ruling BJP, followed by CPI-M (43), Tipra Motha Party (42), Trinamool Congress (28), and Congress (13).
Even as the BJP allotted five seats to its junior ally Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), the latter has fielded six candidates. At Ampinagar in southern Tripura, the BJP has nominated Patal Kanya Jamatiya while the IPFT has fielded sitting MLA Sindhu Chandra Jamatia. A total of 58 Independent candidates and 14 nominees from various smaller parties are also contesting the elections.
Votes will be counted on March 2.