BJP's election campaign manager Himanta Biswa Sarma during a poll campaign in Tripura.
BJP's election campaign manager Himanta Biswa Sarma during a poll campaign in Tripura.

As the BJP and ruling Left Front are poised for a ‘fierce electoral battle’, the formal campaigning by political parties came to an end in Tripura on Friday evening. The third smallest state of India is all set to go to polls on February 18.

There are 60 constituencies in Tripura, and a total of 297 candidates are trying out their luck to find a place in the 12th Tripura Legislative Assembly.

Of the 60 seats, 30 seats are for General candidates, 10 seats are reserved for Scheduled Caste candidates, while 20 seats are reserved for Scheduled Tribe candidates.

In the State Assembly election in 2013, 249 candidates had contested, and the Left Front had registered victory in 50 seats, while the Congress got 10 seats.

The Left Front led by Manik Sarkar is seeking re-election, having governed Tripura since the 1998 elections. The ruling Left Front is contesting in all the 60 seats. Congress has fielded 56 candidates, while 24 Trinamool Congress candidates are trying their luck.

On the other hand, the BJP is all out to make the lotus bloom in the State, which is known as the last citadel of the red brigade in India. It is contesting in 51 seats, and decided to allocate 9 seats to its pre-poll partner IPFT.

As the election campaign came to an end, almost all high-flying campaign managers of the different political parties left Tripura on Friday evening.

“As the formal campaigning comes to an end, I have left Tripura for my home. The love & affection I received from people will remain with me forever. @BJP4India will do everything possible to make #Tripura as one of the best states of India. I will cherish the memory forever!” BJP’s campaign manager Himanta Biswa Sarma said in a Tweeter message.

Tripura’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sriram Tarnikanti said everything is ready for the smooth holding of the Assembly election on February 18. Around one-third of the polling booths of the total 3,214 polling stations have been identified as critical in security point of view.

“While central forces will guard the polling booths, police personnel, including TSR personnel will be deployed outside the booths. However, they can be summoned if the presiding officer feels it necessary,” Tarnikanti said.

The CEO assured that there would be all out efforts to ensure free and fair Assembly elections on February 18 in Tripura. “Web casting facility will be put in place to ensure real time basis surveillance at the booth level. There is a little chance to intimidation in the polling process,” the CEO said.

Anirban Roy

Anirban Roy is Editor-in-Chief of Northeast Now. He can be reached at: editor@nenow.in

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