Both CPI-M, BJP confident of Tripura election victory

Agartala, Feb 18: As Sunday's voting to elect 59 of the 60 members of the Tripura Assembly passed off peacefully, the ruling CPI-M and the BJP exuded confidence of an electoral victory in the northeastern state.

Except snags reported in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) attached with VVPATs (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) in around 180 polling stations, the polling was incident-free. Over 75 per cent of the eligible voters had voted till 4 p.m. when the official voting hours ended.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Tripura unit President Biplab Kumar Deb said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party President Amit Shah, General Secretary Ram Madhav, Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and other party leaders inquired about polling in Tripura.

"People want change. People strongly wish for a BJP government in Tripura. It is certain that the BJP will form the next government in Tripura," Deb told the media here.

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Tripura State Secretary Bijan Dhar said the Left parties were "overconfident" of forming the next state government.

He said CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, politburo members Prakash Karat, Brinda Karat, Biman Bose and other central leaders enquired on phone about the polling.

"The Prime Minister and other BJP leaders always talk of Digital India, but in today's (Sunday) elections a large number of EVMs-VVPATs malfunctioned to create serious doubts about the high-pitch Digital India campaign," the Left leader said.

Tripura Congress Vice-President Tapas Dey also said that frequent inquiries about Tripura elections were received from Congress President Rahul Gandhi's office in Delhi.

All India Congress Committee General Secretary C.P. Joshi, Secretary Bhupen Bora and other leaders also talked to Tripura Congress leaders on the polling, he added.

Criticising the state Election Department, the Congress leaders said election authorities in Tripura were not impartial and election management was very poor and inefficient.

"Despite complaints from the Congress and Left parties, election officials in Tripura did not take action. But election officials took prompt action when the BJP lodged any complaint," Dey added.

The counting of votes would be held on March 3.