AGARTALA: Over 75 percent of the 8,54,900-strong electorate on Saturday cast their votes in the three-tier gram panchayat elections in Tripura with the balloting mostly peaceful, officials said.
The Opposition Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and Congress have alleged "large-scale intimidation, booth capturing, rigging and violence" on Saturday by "goons" of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). "Except two clashes between the BJP and Congress workers, no other incident was reported so far. Over 75 per cent of the 8,54,900-electorate cast their ballots," an official of the State Election Commission said.
CPI-M-led Left Front leaders said that BJP leaders, supporters unleashed a reign of terror, intimidations and attacks on the Opposition party supporters especially the Left parties since the announcement of the panchayat elections last month.
"The ruling party members and their goons did not allow the Opposition parties to file nomination papers in 96 per cent of the total of 6,646 seats in the three-tier gram panchayats. Elections were held only in four per cent of seats on Saturday and that too entirely rigged," Left Front convener Bijan Dhar said.
CPI-M state secretary Gautam Das said that violence, attacks, hooliganism, and extensive intimidation took place against the Opposition party voters in at least 30 places in seven of the eight districts.
Rejecting the Opposition parties' accusations, BJP spokesman Nabendu Bhattacharjee said that despite "conspiracies" by the Congress and the CPI-M, the elections were held peacefully and smoothly.
"Both the CPI-M and the Congress were not ready to fight the panchayat elections fearing their inevitable defeat. That is why they are making unfounded and fake allegations against the BJP," Bhattacharjee added. (IANS)