Agartala, Feb 24 (IANS) Around 85 percent voter turnout was recorded Thursday in elections to the 527 village committees under the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC), election officials said. Polling was peaceful.
“About 85 percent of the totals of 671,163 voters, mostly tribals, have cast their ballots across the state to elect 4,020 local bodies’ heads in the tribal-dominated areas,” State Election Commission secretary Gobinda Chandra Bhattacharjee told reporters.
Of the total of 4,293 seats in 527 village committees, equivalent to gram panchayats, candidates of the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) won in 273 seats without contest.
Women and aged voters wearing traditional dresses queued up in large numbers well before polling booths opened at 8 a.m. and first-timer young voters too cast their votes early.
The state government declared a holiday Thursday to enable the voters to exercise their franchise. The votes will be counted Saturday.
“Not a single untoward incident was reported from anywhere in the poll-bound state,” Director General of Police K. Saleem Ali told IANS.
In all 8,521 candidates belonging to the CPI-M-led Left Front, the main opposition Congress and its ally Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were contesting these polls.
The over-month long hectic election campaign ended Tuesday.
Tripura Chief Minister and CPI-M politburo member Manik Sarkar, the party’s central committee members Bijon Dhar and Badal Chowdhury, and Congress state chief Surajit Datta and Leader of Opposition Ratan Lal Nath were the key campaigners for their respective parties.
The polls were held under a heavy security cover with an additional deployment of 10,000 personnel of central and state security forces.
The TTAADC, which facilitates the socio-economic development of the tribals and has jurisdiction over two-thirds of the state’s geographical area, was constituted in 1985 after amending the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
There are 16 autonomous district councils (ADC) in northeast India, facilitating the rights of governance to the local bodies by the tribals, who constitute 27 percent of the region’s 40 million people.
Of the 16 ADCs, six are in Manipur, three each in Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram, and one in Tripura.