27 C
Saturday, May 18, 2024

Polling begins in West Tripura LS seat


 Voting began Friday amid high security across 1,685 polling stations in West Tripura parliamentary constituency where over 14.61 lakh electorates will decide the fate of nine candidates in the first phase of the Lok Sabha contest.

The voters comprising 7.33 lakh men and 7.28 lakh women will choose from among the top two contenders Congress candidate Asish Kumar Saha and former Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb. Saha fell out fell out with Deb when the former was in the BJP more than two years ago.

There are 99 booths exclusively managed by women and the rural booths have seen an impressive crowd since early morning well before the scheduled beginning of vote.

The polling staff faced a tough time on Thursday night because of a power cut and network disturbance following a squall with moderate rain in poll-bound districts of Tripura.

Barring a few polling stations in the city, most of the polling parties managed the preparation and conducted mock-poll under candlelight, and the webcasting facilities installed by the ECI to ensure transparency in the polling process got halted in most of the polling booths.

The micro observers have faced problems in sharing information due to network interruption. The polling staff complained that despite repeated requests to the election officials and Tripura State Electricity Corporation there was no initiative to restore power supply; as a result, the polling staff, mostly females, became ill in several locations.

“It seems to be an organized hindrance created by the ruling BJP to disrupt the initiative of ECI. Since webcasting facilities are not functioning properly they don’t allow polling agents of opposition parties to get entry and the beginning of polling process was in question,” alleged candidate of INDIA bloc Ashish Kumar Saha.

He further alleged that security deployment in most of the area was not proper and sufficient, which helped the ruling party goons to continue intimidations and threats to the opposition supporters not to go for casting votes and added, “I am in doubt how much fair and free poll can be possible.”

Around 20,000 polling personnel including 700 females have been appointed to hold the election in West Tripura along with more than 12,000 security personnel. Based on the forecast of a heatwave and no possibility of rain by the Indian Meteorological Department till Friday, steps were taken to ensure a convenient atmosphere in the polling stations but it went reversed, which created the problem, claimed an election official.

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