Tripura village committee polls today, security tightened

From a Correspondent & IANS

Agartala, Feb 23: A multi-layered security blanket has been thrown over tribal domited and interior areas of Tripura for the elections on Wednesday in 528 of the 587 village committees under the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC).

The state government has asked the Border Security Force (BSF) to maintain maximum vigil along the India-Bangladesh border to foil any intrusion attempt from across the border.

“Polling was supposed to be held in 587 village committees (VCs) in TTAADC areas. The ruling Left parties have been elected unopposed in 59 VCs; so elections would be held on Wednesday for 3,695 seats of 528 VCs,” State Election Commissioner G. Kameswara Rao told reporters on Tuesday.

He said “In all 8,194 candidates of various tiol and local parties are contesting the elections. Among the aspirants, more than 50 percent are women.”

The ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist led Left Front has put up 3,697 candidates, followed by the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura, a local party, which has 1734 candidates, the Bharatiya Jata Party has 983, the Indigenous tiolist Party of Tripura 782 and the Congress 601 candidates.

In all 645,840 people, mostly tribals, including 318,909 women, are eligible to cast their votes, Rao said.

Inspector General of Police (law and order) Anurag said that around 10,600 personnel of state security forces, including counter insurgency-trained Tripura State Rifles, and over 1000 personnel of central para-military forces would be deployed to ensure security.

“Over 200 mobile patrolling parties and several hundred foot watch parties would keep vigil until the polling was over. Multi-layer security arrangements have been made in the poll-bound areas,” Anurag told reporters.

The village committees, falling in areas under the politically important TTAADC, are equivalent to Gram Panchayats outside the council areas.

“Instead of electronic voting machines, old ballot boxes would be used for the polls. This is being done, according to the election laws of the TTAADC,” said Rao, who was earlier the state chief secretary.

Tripura’s ruling Left Front led by the CPI-M retained the 30-member tribal autonomous body for the third consecutive term in last year’s elections.

After the formation of the TTAADC 34 years ago under the Seventh Schedule of the constitution, its constitutiol and legal powers were upgraded in August 1984 to protect and safeguard the political, economic and cultural interests of tribals who constitute one-third of Tripura’s 3.7 million population. The TTAADC governs two-thirds of Tripura’s 10,492 square km area. (IANS)

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