Agartala: A total of 22 per cent of the 5.94 lakh voters exercised their franchise in the first four hours of polling in Tripura's 14 civic bodies on Thursday amid opposition's allegations of political violence.
State Election Commission Secretary Pallab Bhattacharya said that 22 per cent votes were polled till 11 AM.
He said that no reports of violence or EVM malfunctioning has been reported so far, even though opposition TMC and CPI (M) alleged that their party workers and supporters were attacked and prevented from casting their votes.
Two companies of Border Security Force and 500 Tripura State Rifles personnel have been deployed as per Supreme Court directive in addition to the previous deployment, the official said. Subal Bhowmik, state convener of the TMC steering committee, however, said, "Residences of several TMC candidates were attacked last night and attempts were made to set their houses on fire. At least five party workers have been attacked and our supporters have been prevented from casting their votes. Police is standing as a silent spectator to these incidents." Alleging that law and order in Tripura has collapsed, Bhowmik said, "The BJP has mocked the entire election process and sheltered goons for their political ends. But they will have to face the electorate in the future. We will mobilise people against this anti-people party and its leaders who have mocked democracy in the state." The TMC has claimed that at least 20 EVMs had malfunctioned in Agartala during the beginning of the elections.
CPI (M) Phulon Bhattacharjee also alleged that voters have been threatened to vote for the BJP.
"In my long political career, I have never seen such things. Voters are being openly threatened," she said.
However, the ruling BJP denied the allegations.
"The TMC and the CPI (M) are frustrated and making baseless allegations because they know that they would be defeated," BJP spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharya said.
The BJP has already won 112 of the total 334 seats uncontested in Agartala Municipal Corporation (AMC) and 19 other civic bodies in the state.
Polling is being held in 222 seats across six nagar panchayats, seven municipal councils and AMC. Counting of votes will be held on November 28.
The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to provide two additional companies of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) to secure every polling booth during the Tripura civic polls.