Agartala : Over 80 per cent of the 8,65,041 voters on Tuesday cast their votes in the elections to the 28-member politically significant Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC), officials said.
The officials of the Tripura State Election Commission (SEC), which conducted the polls, said that the elections were by and large peaceful and no major incident being reported.
Tripura State Election Commissioner M.L. Dey said that in all, 8,65,041 voters, including 4,28,490 females, were eligible to cast their votes in the TTAADC polls, which has a jurisdiction of over two-thirds of Tripura’s 10,491 sq km area and is home to over 12,16,000 people, of which 90 per cent population comprises tribals.
Meanwhile, the opposition CPI-M, which governed the TTAADC until May 17 last year, and the Congress strongly criticised the ruling BJP and the SEC for large scale “rigging, booth capturing, illegal manipulations, intimidations and attacks” during the polling.
CPI-M state secretary Gautam Das said that due to the large scale irregularities and booth capturing, the Left party has demanded re-polling in 65 of the 1,244 polling stations.
“Ever since the BJP-IPFT government came to power in 2018, elections to the local bodies, including the three-tier gram panchayats, have witnessed large scale violence, attacks and illegal practices,” Das told the media.
The BJP leaders have, however, rubbished the Left parties’ accusations and claimed that the people, mostly tribals, voted in large numbers.
The five-year tenure of the TTAADC, considered as mini-state Assembly in terms of political significance, expired on May 17 last year and the BJP-led state government promulgated the Governor’s rule by appointing a retired IAS officer as administrator the next day for a period of six months before extending the term for another six months on November 17.
After huge political outcry over the postponement of the elections, the Tripura High Court had asked the state government and the election authorities to hold the TTAADC polls at the earliest.
After months of political tussle, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and its ally Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) jointly fought the elections while the opposition CPI-M-led Left Front, the Congress and newly formed ‘TIPRA Motha’ headed by Tripura’s royal scion Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barman and the state’s oldest tribal based party Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) have seperaly put up candidates.
The IPFT has been agitating since 2009 for the creation of a separate state by upgrading the TTAADC, which was constituted under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution in June 1985.
The IPFT’s demand, however, has been strongly opposed by all the major political parties, including the BJP, the CPI-M and the Congress.
Of Tripura’s four million population, one-third are tribals who play a crucial role in all kinds of political affairs in the northeastern state.