Voting is underway for the 60-member Assembly in Tripura amid tight security, said Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Gitte Kirankumar Dinakarrao on Thursday.
Polling began at 7 am and will continue till 4 pm.
Altogether 28.13 lakh voters are scheduled to exercise their franchise during the day in 3,337 polling stations of the northeastern state to determine the fate of 259 candidates, he said.
No untoward incident or EVM technical snag was reported from any part of the state in the first hour, he said.
Of the 3,337 polling stations, 1,100 booths have been identified as sensitive and 28 as critical.
As many as 97 booths are being managed by women polling personnel.
The international and interstate boundaries have been sealed to keep trouble-makers at bay during the voting process, he said.
As part of precautionary measures, prohibitory orders have been imposed across the state till 6 am on February 17, the CEO stated.
“As many as 31,000 polling personnel and 25,000 security personnel of central forces will be on guard to ensure the election is conducted in a free, fair and peaceful manner. Besides, 31,000 officials of the state armed police and the state police will be deployed at various places to maintain law and order,” he explained.
Dinakarrao also said that an air ambulance has been stationed at Agartala Airport for emergencies.
Urging electors to come out and exercise their democratic rights, the CEO said necessary steps have been made for their safety.
“Special initiatives have been taken for physically handicapped and old voters so that they don’t face any inconvenience at the booths,” he said.
The northeastern state is set to witness a triangular fight this time, with the BJP-IPFT coalition seeking to retain supremacy, the Left-Congress combine looking to wrest power, and regional outfit Tipra Motha making its debut at the hustings after its stunning performance in the autonomous council polls.
The BJP is contesting 55 assembly seats, and its ally IPFT has fielded candidates in six constituencies. The two parties will be having a friendly fight in one seat.
The left Front is contesting 47 seats and the Congress 13 constituencies.
The TMC has fielded nominees in 28 constituencies.
Apart from that, there are 58 Independent aspirants in the fray.
Chief Minister Manik Saha, who won the by-poll from Town Bardowali constituency, is contesting the election from the same seat while CPI (M) state secretary Jitendra Chaudhury, who is the face of the Left-Congress combine, is fighting from Sabroom. Notably, Tipra Motha supremo is not contesting the elections.
Votes will be counted on March 2.