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CPM gets early lead in Tripura

CNN-IBN
Mar 07, 2008 at 12:39pm IST

New Delhi: The counting of votes began at 19 centres in 17 subdivisions of four districts in Tripura on Friday. The main contest is between the Left Front and the Congress-Indegenous Nationalist Party of Tripura combine.

According to latest trends, CPI(M), leading the Left Front in Tripura, has won 30 seats and its ally RSP emerged victorious in one seats giving the front majority in the 60-member House. Another ally CPI was ahead in one seat and RSP in one more.

The Congress has managed to win on five seats.

INPT president Bijay Kumar Harngkhawl was leading by 521 votes from Kulai seat.

The counting, being held at 19 centres in 17 sub-divisions of four districts of the state, is likely to be completed by noon. Result would be officially announced in the afternoon.

Over 91 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the polling in the state held on February 23. All police stations and the Border Security Force are on alert to check violence and infiltration of criminals or insurgents from across the border, police said.

Much is at stake for the Left parties in Tripura as the CPI-M hopes to stage yet another comeback to power. 313 candidates, including 31 women and 64 independents, are in fray for the 60-member Assembly.

In what is being seen as a setback of sorts to the Left Front, the Forward Bloc, its partner for years decided to go it alone this time around.

The Left Front has been ruling Tripura since 1978 barring one term between 1988 and 1993 when the Congress came to power

The Tripura elections are significant as this is the first Left-ruled state to go to polls after Nandigram.

The state recorded a turnout of 92 per cent this time creating electoral history of sorts. The previous record of high polling percentage was in Sikkim, where more than 87 per cent votes had been polled in the 2004 assembly elections.

In the 2003 elections, out of the total 60 seats, the Left Front, mainly the CPM, won 41seats. The Congress-INPT combine got just 19 seats last time

The counting process is likely to be completed by 12 noon, Chief Election Officer G S G Ayyanger said. Postal ballots would be counted first and after that EVMs would be opened, Ayyanger said, adding that the result would be officially announced in the afternoon.

Tripura Director General of Police K T D Singh said all police stations and border outposts along the 856 km Indo-Bangla border in the state were alerted ahead of the counting.

BSF was also alerted to check infiltration of any criminals or insurgents from across the border, he said, adding the strength of police stations and outposts were increased.

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