Tripura civic polls: Counting underway for 222 seats amid tight security

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Counting of votes for over 200 seats in the Agartala Municipal Corporation (AMC) and other civic bodies in Tripura, where elections were held earlier amid allegations of rigging and attacks on political rivals, began on Sunday.

An official of the State Election Commission said the counting started in 13 centres in all the eight districts of the state where a three-tier security is in place.

The run-up to the polls, which should have been a humdrum affair, became a cause celebre after it was marred by violence, arrests, sit-ins in far-away Delhi and a Supreme Court intervention asking officials to ensure peaceful polling.

The polling itself on Thursday was accompanied by charges of vote malpractices by the TMC and CPI(M), both of whom had demanded re-polling in various municipalities. The ruling BJP however, had dismissed these charges.

Apart from normal security arrangements, Tripura State Rifles and central armed police force have also been deployed to maintain law and order in areas adjoining counting centres, Assistant Inspector General of Police Subrata Chakrabarty said on Saturday.

There are 334 seats in urban local bodies – the AMC, 13 Municipal Councils and six Nagar Panchayats – in the state. The ruling BJP has fielded candidates in all the seats and has won 112 of them uncontested.

In the remaining 222 seats, as many as 785 contestants are in the fray.

The electoral battle saw the ruling BJP locked in battle with the Trinamool Congress which is foraying into the Northeast and elsewhere to establish itself as a national party, and with the CPI(M) which the saffron party had dethroned from power in this state some years ago.

The TMC which alleged vote rigging and intimidation in elections held on Thursday, had demanded countermanding of the entire election while the CPI(M) had sought fresh elections in five municipal bodies including the AMC.

Both parties had claimed that the authorities remained silent spectators as BJP supporters attacked political rivals and rigged the election. The saffron party however stoutly denied the charges.

Altogether 81.54 per cent of over 4.93 lakh voters exercised their franchise in the election.

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