Violence broke out in parts of Tripura on Thursday during voting for the Assembly elections in which the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party hopes to fend off the challenge from the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-Congress alliance.

A voter turnout of 81.1 % was recorded till 4 pm, according to the Election Commission.

A total of 28.13 lakh voters will decide the fate of 259 candidates in the elections, according to PTI. The results for the Tripura elections and the Assembly polls in Meghalaya and Nagaland will be announced together on March 2.

In the 2018 elections in Tripura, the BJP, along with its ally the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura, had won a comfortable majority by dismantling the Left Front government of 25 years.

In a statement on Thursday, Tripura chief election officer said that one Left supporter was beaten in Shantirbaazar constituency in the South Tripura district. The chief election officer said that he has not been able to identify his attackers and has been taken to a hospital.

The officer added that the police have registered a case in the incident.

The Tripura chief election officer also issued notices to the Congress and the BJP for appealing to voters to support their parties even after the Model Code of Conduct had been implemented, reported ANI.

Meanwhile, CPI(M) leader and former Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar alleged that goons backed by the BJP were stopping residents from casting their votes, reported ANI.

“At some places where voters are not allowed to vote, they [voters] are blocking roads and urging the Election Commission, if they are not allowed to cast votes they won’t let others cast their votes,” he said.

Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barman, the chief of new entrant Tipra Motha, alleged that violence has broken out in Dhanpur and Mohanpur constituencies and that electronic voting machines were malfunctioning. Barman added that his outfit has complained about the issues to the poll panel.

In Kakraban constituency, a scuffle was reported and the sector magistrate held an inquiry into the matter, Collector Sumit Lodh said. Two CPI(M) polling agents were injured, reported The Indian Express.

Lodh added that the situation is under control and a case has been registered.

The BJP and the IPFT have again formed an alliance for this election. The saffron party is contesting on 55 seats while the IPFT is contesting from six places.

In May, the BJP replaced Biplab Kumar Deb as the chief minister amid reports of internal dissent and the saffron party’s former state chief Manik Saha took oath for the top post. Saha is the face of the alliance this time and is contesting from the Town Bardowali constituency.

On the Opposition front, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has fielded candidates on 47 seats while the Congress is in the fray from 13 constituencies. The alliance has projected CPI(M) state secretary Jitendra Chaudhury as its face for this polls.

Tipra Motha has candidates in 42 seats. The party’s main plank is the demand for a separate state of Greater Tipraland for the indigenous communities of Tripura.

The Trinamool Congress is contesting from 28 places while Independent candidates are in the fray from 58 constituencies.

Voting on Thursday is being held at 3,337 polling stations, of which 1,100 have been identified as sensitive and 28 as critical, according to PTI.

“As many as 31,000 polling personnel and 25,000 security personnel of central forces are ready to conduct the election in a free, fair and peaceful manner,” Chief Electoral Officer Kirankumar Gitte said. “Besides, 31,000 employees of the state armed police and the state police will be deployed to maintain law and order.”

On Thursday, members of the Bru community – who have been living in relief camps across Tripura – voted for the first time in the election, according to state election commission.

The Bru community have been living in Tripura since 1997 after they were displaced from Mizoram.

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