April 20, 2014
Polling for East Tripura Concludes Peacefully

Rahul Sinha

ON April 12, polling for East Tripura (ST) parliamentary constituency passed off peacefully, with a high percentage of turnout. According to the initial statement of the chief electoral officer (CEO) of the state, 82.5 percent votes were cast for the constituency as a whole. The constituency with the electoral strength of about 11.40 lakh voters saw a heavy turnout from the morning itself on the polling day, and by 11 a m 40 percent votes were cast. The tribal areas of Khowai, Belonia and Santirbazar saw an average turnout of more than 87 percent. Figures were relatively low, at 80 to 81 percent, in some areas of Dhalai and North Tripura districts. At a press briefing on the day, the CEO, Asutosh Jindal, said the voting was absolutely peaceful. No untoward incident was reported from anywhere. Not a single allegation of poll related violence was reported. In the hilly belts of Langtarai and Atharomurra, tribal people in their traditional attires came out to vote early on the day. Brisk polling was reported in Khowai, Belonia, Santirbazar, Sabroom, Amarpur, Kanchanpur, Dharmanagar. Everywhere the festive mood was evident. With the problem of insurgency having been minimised to a large extent and developmental works going on in full speed, the enthusiasm of the people was very much evident. In a statement in the evening, the CPI(M) state secretariat thanked the electorate and the poll personnel for this free fair and festive voting. The Tripura Left Front Committee too, in a separate statement, observed that on both dates of voting the electorate of the states had exercised their democratic right in a festive mood, in tune with the tradition of the state. The Left Front Committee thanked the electorate and expressed gratitude to the election officials and security personnel for a festive, free and fair voting on both the poll dates. Chief minister Manik Sarkar too thanked the peace loving people of the state for turning out to vote in such huge numbers and in a quite disciplined manner. He expressed the hope that when the final figures came the overall percentage of voting in the state would go up to 84.5 percent; his hope was based on the consideration that the figure for West Tripura seat had gone to 86 percent in the final reckoning, and that East Tripura seat too had recorded an average 83 percent polling. He expressed satisfaction at the incident free conduct of polls in the entire state and conveyed gratitude to all categories of the polling personnel and security forces for ensuring the smooth conduct of election in Tripura on April 7 and 12. The Left Front supported CPI(M) candidate for the seat, Jitendra Choudhury, cast his vote at Gardang Higher Secondary School booth in Sabroom subdivision. Talking to the media, he expressed confidence that the turnout would be high and that the Left Front would win the seat with a huge margin. The Congress, BJP and TMC also thanked the voters for peaceful conduct of polling. The opposition could not report a single incident of malpractice, violence or any kind of irregularity. However, Congress spokesman Dr Ashok Sinha said the way elections were conducted and the way the opposition was treated by the Election Commission including its central office was “not satisfactory.” He alleged that the Election Commission of India did not answer their letters. However, while preaching that the umpire should not only be neutral but also seem to be neutral, he did not quote a single example showing that the umpire was not neutral.