|Heavy turnout in Tripura assembly byelection|
Agartala, Sep 13 (IANS): Over half of the voters had cast their ballot by early afternoon in the by-election to the Manu Assembly seat in southern Tripura today, officials said.
"Over 55 percent voters have cast their votes till 1 pm. The election is absolutely peaceful and smooth. There is no report of any untoward incident from anywhere in the Manu assembly segment," Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ashutosh Jindal told IANS.
"Voters, including women, were seen queuing up to exercise their franchise in most of the 46 polling stations after the balloting started at 7 am.," he said.
"Polling is under way in 46 polling stations in 38 locations. Central Reserve Police Force and Tripura State Rifles troopers have been deployed adequately to hold the by-poll smoothly," poll Returning Officer Rajib Datta told IANS over phone from Sabroom, 135 km south of here.
The CEO said that 38,843 voters, including 18,929 female electorates, are eligible to cast their votes to choose their representative from among the six candidates.
He said that two observers, 38 micro-observers and 230 polling personnel were appointed to hold the by-election.
The by-poll was necessitated after former forest, industries and rural development minister Jitendra Chaudhary, who won the Manu seat five times on the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist ticket, was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Tripura East constituency.
Though there are six candidates in the fray, the main contest would be between the ruling CPI-M candidate Pravat Chowdhury and Congress nominee Mailafru Mog.
Chowdhury, who graduated from the Nagaland University in agriculture, recently resigned from a senior position in Tripura's agriculture department to contest the elections.
Mog could not pass the Madhyamik examination and has been a member of almost all non-Left parties at different times.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has fielded Nirmal Kumar Tripura and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee's Trinamool Congress has nominated Angthai Mog.
Two tribe-based local parties, the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura and the Indigenous People's Front of Tripura, have also fielded their contenders.