The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the Centre to deploy two additional companies of the Central Armed Police Forces in Tripura where voting for the civic body elections is underway, Bar and Bench reported.

The Trinamool Congress has alleged that its candidates were being beaten up by Bharatiya Janata Party supporters and people were being stopped from voting.

The party also claimed that BJP supporters, fearful of defeat, were casting votes on behalf of the voters.

“In such circumstances we direct the home ministry to deploy two additional companies of CAPF [Central Armed Police Force] as expeditiously as possible, having due regard to the fact that the polling has commenced, so polling can take place without disruption,” said the court, according to NDTV.

In its order, the court also said that Central Armed Police Force personnel will be deployed to secure ballot boxes till the counting of votes on November 28, reported PTI. The court ordered that media should be allowed unhindered coverage of the elections as polling stations did not have CCTV cameras.

The court added that the state Election Commission must ensure that every polling station is guarded by enough security officers so that free and fair elections can take place.

The court was hearing a contempt petition filed by the Trinamool Congress, in which it alleged that the authorities in Tripura did not comply with the court’s order to ensure a safe environment for political parties to campaign for the polls.

Voting for the elections to 222 seats in civic bodies in Tripura began at 7 am on Thursday.

A state Election Commission official said that 65% voter turnout was recorded till 3 pm, reported IANS.

Meanwhile, Trinamool Congress workers led by party’s state convenor Subal Bhowmik staged a protest against the alleged violence in the state.

State Election Commission Secretary Pallab Bhattacharya dismissed allegations of violence and malfunctioning of electronic voting machines, reported Assam Tribune.

The Trinamool Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) had alleged that their party workers and supporters were attacked and prevented from casting their votes.

Bhattacharya also said that two companies of Border Security Force and 500 Tripura State Rifles personnel have been deployed on the Supreme Court’s directive in addition to the previous deployments.

Trinamool Congress youth wing president Saayoni Ghosh, who was arrested in Agartala on attempt to murder charges on Sunday and released a day later, asserted that her party will form the government in the 2023 state Assembly polls, reported News18.

Elections had been announced in the state for 334 seats in 20 urban local bodies, including the municipal corporation in capital city Agartala. Of these, the BJP had won 112 seats unopposed earlier in November. Voting for the remaining seats is being held on Thursday.

Apart from the saffron party and the Trinamool Congress, the CPI(M) is also contesting the elections.

The CPI(M) also moved the Supreme Court on Wednesday, seeking to join the Trinamool Congress’ petition related to the alleged violence in Tripura, Live Law reported. The CPI(M) alleged that its workers and offices were being attacked by BJP supporters.

The Left party alleged that a group of about 20 people went to the home of Smriti Sarker, its candidate from Agartala, and threatened her with firearms on Wednesday evening.

“Information has been pouring from different poll-bound urban local bodies and several wards of Agartala Municipal Council that large number of miscreants are intruding into those areas at the behest of ruling BJP and indulging into terrorising the opposition supporters with dire consequences, with the threat not to move to the polling stations on 25th November,” the party alleged.