Agartala, May 3: Over 85 percent of the 758,554 electors cast their votes on Sunday in the elections to the 30-member Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC), which administers two-thirds of Tripura.
State Election Commission secretary Tamal Majumder said that over 85 percent voters cast their votes in the politically important elections. The TTAADC has jurisdiction over 68.10 percent of the state’s total area of 10,491.69 square km.
“The voting percentage might increase when the fil reports from all the returning officers reach here. No political party so far has made any complaint about the polling process,” Majumder told IANS.
“Weather was very pleasant all over in the morning. Braving summer heat in the noon, long queues of tribal men and women in their traditiol attires were seen at almost all the polling stations,” Inspector General of Police (police control) Nepal Das told IANS.
He said: “Voting has been peaceful and there were no reports of any major untoward incident from anywhere in the state when the polling officially ended at 5 p.m.”
Inspector General of Police (law and order) Anurag told reporters that around 13,000 security personnel, including those from Border Security Force and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), have been deployed to ensure the trouble-free polling.
The security along Tripura’s 856-km-long intertiol border with Bangladesh and inter-state borders with Assam (53 km) and Mizoram (109 km) also was tightened to prevent any cross-border troubles.
With more tribal autonomy being a key election issue, polls for the TTAADC, a constitutiol body viewed almost equal to the state assembly, are a significant political event in the Left-ruled Tripura.
Balloting was held at 1,070 polling stations. Votes will be counted on May 6.
Of the 175 candidates contesting the elections for the TTAADC, 10 are women, said state Election Commissioner Sanjay Kumar Rakesh, adding that 758,554 electors, including 375,117 women, were eligible to vote.
Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were used in the TTAADC polls for the first time. Over 6,055 governement employees and around 200 senior officials were engaged to conduct the polls, the official added.
He said besides four tiol political parties — the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), Communist Party of India (CPI), the Congress and the Bharatiya Jata Party (BJP) — several local parties, including Trimool Congress, have fielded their candidates for the autonomous constitutiol body elections. Two tribal-based parties — Indigenous tiolist Party of Tripura (INPT) and Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) — also nomited their candidates for all the 28 seats.
Unlike the Congress and BJP, the CPI-M holds a substantial base both among the tribals and non-tribals. This has helped the Left party to govern the northeastern state since 1978, except for five years from 1988 to 1993 when the Congress-led alliance government ruled the state.
Since its formation in 1982, the Left Front has ruled the TTAADC except in two terms — 1990-1995 and 2000-2005.
During 1990 to 1995, the Congress-Tripura Upajati Juba Samity, a tribal based party, governed the TTAADC and in 2000-2005 the IPFT ruled the council.
All the parties are vying for more power in the TTAADC, which currently administers 18 departments, including school education, primary health, forest, industry, tribal welfare, PWD, sports and youth affairs. Set up in 1982 to protect and safeguard the political, economic and cultural interests of tribals, the 30-member TTAADC has 28 seats filled through direct election while two members are nomited by the government.
Twenty-seven seats in the council are reserved for tribals, who make up a third of Tripura’s 3.7 million population. (IANS)