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Sporadic Violence in Otherwise Peaceful Tripura Polls, 87% Polling Registered

CPI(M) alleges violence by BJP supporters as well as attempts to take over booths.
tripura polling

Agartala: The Assembly elections in Tripura were marked by sporadic violence even though the percentage of voters who cast their votes was high. As per estimates, the percentage of voters who cast their votes in the election is 87.63%. The percentage of polling, however, is likely to go up as elections officials are awaiting final reports of polling from parts of the state.

However, supporters and activists of the opposition Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPI(M) claimed they were attacked with weapons when they tried to present their credentials as Left polling agents in various polling booths of the state. Violence erupted in several places, including Dhanpur, Mohanpur, Khayerpur, Majlishpur, Suryamaninagar, Radhakishorepur, Kakrabon, Hrishyamukh, and in Amarpur. Allegedly, the car of the main election agent of the CPI(M) candidate Pabitra Kar was vandalised by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters in Khayerpur. They have also alleged that attempts to take over the booth were also made. 

In some places, workers and disrupters tried to shoo away the voters from the polling booths, but the voters resisted en masse and cast their votes in due time. In the Majlishpur assembly, BJP supporters allegedly beat up CPI(M) polling agent Ali Ajgar and attempt to take over the booth were also made. In the Khayerpur assembly segment, about seven to eight polling agents of the CPI(M) candidate came under direct attack.

In the Mandai assembly segment's Durganagar area, two polling agents of CPI(M), Nurul Islam and Jugal Shil, were beaten up by alleged BJP miscreants. CPI(M) worker Moron Dey was also reportedly stabbed by the same group. Violence was also reported against CPI(M) activists by Tipra Motha activists in areas like Shibnagar, Laxmipur Purba Noabadi, Khumlung Bidyacharan School, Harinath Sardan, Gurucharan, and Kalikrishna. In the Suryamaninagar assembly segment, large areas were allegedly under the control of BJP "terror," while voter intimidation and violence against even women voters were reported in the Santirbazaar assembly segment.

In the Amarpur assembly segment, a CPI(M) polling agent, Rajib Majumdar, was attacked in Natunbazaar's booth number 44, and a BJP attacker named Mihir Debnath was later arrested by central forces. In the Dhanpur assembly segment, CPI(M) agent Indrajit Ghosh was attacked, while in the Hrishyamukh assembly segment's Bibekananda Colony Haripur area, four CPI(M) workers, including Liton Chakraborty, Mithun Das, and Rakesh Das, were attacked. In the Bilonia assembly segment's Monchandrapara area, CPI(M) activist Sukanta Majumdar was also attacked when he went to cast his vote.

Later in the evening, the Chief Electoral Officer of Tripura state, Kiren Gitte, held a press conference and stated that the voting process in the state had been largely peaceful. He also said that prompt action has been taken wherever there have been complaints of malpractice. About six persons have been arrested in five incidents of voting malpractice and attack on political parties by the central forces. He also underlined that the trends in voting are showing that the target of 92% voting will be reached in the state when the final figures for voting will come. However, by the latest estimates at 2:45 am, the total polling figures stood at 87.63%.

In a press release later that evening, the CPI(M) praised the voters of Tripura for showing deft courage in casting their votes despite the physical attacks by alleged BJP miscreants. They stated that the electorate was the clear winner in this fight and that the manner in which they had overcome the attacks was exemplary. The press release also demanded that the election commission take steps to ensure the safe passage of non-BJP political party election agents after the voting process is over, as many are reportedly being heckled by ruling party miscreants.

(With inputs from Shantanu Sarkar, Rajesh Kar and Rajib Chandra)

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