From a correspondent
Agartala, December 8: Over five lakh voters will cast their vote to elect 291 representatives for the 20 urban bodies across the state including the Agartala Municipal Corporation. The State Election Commissioner G K Rao said all preparations are completed and the polling officials also left for their respective polling booths. Polling will be held from 7am to 5 pm today. Though the campaigning for the election passed off peacefully the authority is not taking any chances and made all necessary arrangements to ensure a peaceful election. Inspector General of Police (law & order) Anurag Dhankar said 15 companies of CRPF have been deployed in addition to state police and Tripura State Rifles to prevent any kind of untoward incident.
Meanwhile, the Congress has decided to boycott the election in Khowai Municipal Council alleging large scale terror by ruling CPI (M). However, the CPI (M) state secretary Bijon Dhar rejected the allegation and said they picking up an alibi only to hide their imminent defeat.
This election is being considered as a mid-term appraisal of the mood of the urban voters towards the Left Front government led by CPI (M) polit bureau member Manik Sarkar that is ruling the state since 1993 uninterruptedly. The election assumed special significance as the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council election in early this year showed a 10 per cent erosion in the ruling front’s vote share in the rural areas though the front won all the 28 seats.
The ruling front is desperate to give a good show as it will have to face the rural voters once again in March next when election will be held in more than five hundred village committees in the TTAADC areas comprising two third of the state’s geographical area. The ruling front is more worried with this election as unlike the Congress or BJP they are to fight their newly emerged political party the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura who are demanding a separate state.