Agartala: Tripura would go to polls tomorrow with the BJP emerging as the main challenger to the ruling Left Front, which has been in power in the state for the last 25 years.
Polling would be held in 59 of the total 60 seats. Voting in Charilam Assembly constituency would be held on 12 March due to the death of the CPI(M) candidate for the seat, Ramendra Narayan Deb Barma, five days ago.
Twenty seats have been reserved for the scheduled tribes.
The BJP held a high-voltage campaign with Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing as many as four rallies in the state.
Other heavyweight leaders of the saffron party to take part in the campaign were its national president Amit Shah, Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Nitin Gadkari and Smriti Irani and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Manik Sarkar, who is running for his fifth term as the chief minister, led the CPI(M)’s campaign addressing around 50 rallies in the state. Other Left leaders like Sitaram Yechury and Brinda Karat lent support to the party’s campaign.
The Congress’ campaign was somewhat subdued with party president Rahul Gandhi addressing a rally at Kailashahar in Unakoti district, about 180 km from Agartala, on the last day of campaigning.
Altogether, 307 candidates are in the fray.
The CPI(M) is contesting in 57 seats and while the other Left Front constituents, the RSP, Forward Bloc and CPI, in one seat each.
The BJP, which has forged an alliance with tribal outfit Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) has fielded 51 candidates. IPFT will contest in the remaining nine seats.
The Congress is going it alone in Tripura this time and will contest in 59 seats. The party has not fielded any candidate for Kakrabon constituency in Gomati district.
There is 25,73,413 electorate, of whom 13,05,375 are males and 12,68,027 women while the number of third gender voters is 11. There are 47,803 new voters this time.
Voting would be held between 7 am and 4 pm tomorrow at 3,214 polling stations of which 47 would be managed by women, election office sources said.
Tripura chief electoral officer Sriram Taranikanti said the Election Commission has appointed police observers, general observers and expenditure observers to ensure free and fair polls.
He said Director General of Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) RK Pachnanda has been appointed as a special observer to coordinate the security forces deployed in the state.
State Director General of Police Akhil Kumar Shukla said tight security measures are in place across Tripura for free and fair elections.
Three hundred companies of central armed forces have been deployed across the state along with state armed personnel and the police, he said, adding the BSF is keeping keep close vigil along the 856 km long Indo-Bangladesh border in the state.
Counting of votes would take place on 3 March, Additional Chief Electoral Officer Debashish Modok said.