Elections to 30-member TTAADC conducted

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Agartala, Apr 6 (PTI) Elections to 30-member Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC), which governs two-third of the northeastern state's territory, passed off peacefully Tuesday barring a few stray incidents of violence.

Assistant Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Subrata Chakraborty said that the law and order situation of the state remained peaceful during the polling barring a few stray incidents of violence.

'No major incident occurred but in many places scuffles took place between supporters of the rival political parties.

Barring a few stray incidents, the overall situation remained peaceful,' Chakraborty told reporters.

. In Bishramganja area in Sipahijala district, some miscreants tried to capture booths, but they fled the area after police opened fire in the air, Chakraborty said.

'Even as voting was scheduled to be completed by 4 pm, some voters were seen standing in long queues. We have to wait some more time to get the final figure of vote polled', State Election Commission secretary, Prasenjit Bhattacharjee said.

However, he stated that some of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) malfunctioned but they were readily replaced without any disturbance to the poll process.

The opposition CPI-M and Congress both alleged that the ruling BJP had rigged the elections, but the ruling party denied the charges.

CPI-M state Secretary, Gautam Das alleged that the bike- borne goons of BJP activists had intimidated the voters, captured booths, forced the voters and polling agents to leave the booths.

'The bike-borne goon of the ruling BJP from outside the tribal council areas intimidated the voters, captured booths, forced the voters and polling agents to leave the booths. We have specifically complained to the state election commissioner and demanded re-polling in 65 booths', Das told reporters.

Pradesh Congress Committee President, Pijush Biswas said, 'Last night the BJP sheltered goons had threatened our polling agents and party activists of dire consequences if they turned up to the booths. During elections they also captured many booths and the security forces turned a blind eye'.

State BJP spokesperson Subarata Chakraborty said that the allegations of booth capturing and rigging were 'fictitious.

'Our karyakartas were not involved in any kind of rigging or booth capturing. These are all fictitious allegations of the opposition parties sensing their sure defeat.

'Rather the opposition party sponsored goons tried to attack our workers. If they wanted they could have retaliated but they did not react as the police managed the situation', Chakraborty said.

Sixteen companies of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), 5,684 Tripura State Rifles (TSR) jawans, 3,435 police personnel and 263 Home Guards were deployed for smooth conduct of the elections, Assistant Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) said.

All 61 police stations in the TTADC-governed area were put on alert, and reinforced with additional forces, he said, adding that extensive patrolling was carried out in the places where the elections were held.

Altogether, 157 candidates are in the fray -- 14 of the BJP, 28 of the Left Front, 28 of Congress, 17 of the Indigenous People''s Front of Tripura (IPFT) and four of the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Twipra (INPT).

A total of 8,65,041 voters are eligible to exercise their franchise. Of them, 4, 36,548 are males and 4,28,490 females.

In all, 1,244 polling stations have been set up in 1,060 places across the tribal council area. PTI JOY SNS SNS