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Feb 28, 2013 at 01:43pm IST

CPI(M) set to sweep Tripura Assembly polls

Agartala: 1:20 pm: The CPI(M) has won 23 seats and is leading in 25 others. The Congress has won four seats.

12:47 pm: The CPI(M) has won 17 seats in Tripura and is leading in 29 others.

12:06 pm: The CPI(M) has won eight seats and is leading in 39 others.

CPI(M) set to sweep Tripura Assembly polls

The CPI(M) led Left Front is close to coming back to power for a record fifth time in the 60-seat Assembly.

11:47 am: The CPI(M) has won three seats in Tripura and is leading in 44 others. In the 2008 polls, the party won 46 seats. The Congress has also won one seat.

11:10 am: The CPI has won one seat. Manindra Reang of CPI won the Santirbazar seat against Gouri Sankar Reang of Congress.

10:50 am: The CPI(M) that has won one seat is also leading in 43 others while the Congress is leading in seven.

10:28 am: The CPI(M) has won one seat and is leading in 40. Jashabir Tripura of CPI(M) beats his nearest Congress rival Brajendra Mog Chaudhuri by 9343 votes in Jolaibari seat. The party looks set to retain power in the state.

10:05 am: The ruling CPI(M) took a comfortable lead and is leading in 32 seats. The Congress was way behind and was leading in four seats.

9:50 am: The ruling CPI(M) was leading in 15 seats while the Congress was leading in four.

The counting of votes began in Tripura amidst tight security. The CPI in Tripura is now leading in one seat, but the CPI(M) continues to lead in six seats while the Congress is leading in two seats.

Keshab Debbarma of CPI(M) leading over his rival Manab Debbarma of INPT in the Golaghati seat. Jitendra Das of CPI(M) leading over Jitendra Sarkar of Congress in Borjala seat.

The CPI(M) led Left Front is hoping to come back to power for a record fifth time in the 60-seat Assembly.

The counting began at 17 venues in eight districts of the state with three-tier security in each counting hall, sources in the office of Chief Electoral Officer said. Among prominent candidates whose electoral fates would be decided are Chief Minister Manik Sarkar from Dhanpur, Finance Minister Badal Chowdhury from Hrishyamukh, Higher Education Minister Anil Sarkar from Pratapgarh, Industries and Commerce Minister Jitendra Chowdhury from Manu (ST).

The electoral fortunes of TPCC President Sudip Ray Barman from Agartala, Leader of the Opposition Ratan Lal Nath of Congress from Mohanpur and President of the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura Bijay Hrankhwal from Ambassa would also be decided.

Around 2,500 employees, including counting supervisors and counting assistants, have been engaged together with micro observers and Election Commission appointed observers. Prohibitory orders have been imposed within 100 meter of each counting hall where CCTV have been installed. The 856 km border with neighbouring Bangladesh has been sealed since Wednesday.

Both the ruling CPM led Left Front as well as the Congress-led opposition alliance were optimistic of forming the next government in Tripura. "As per the Election Commission directives, a three-tier security has been put in place around the vote counting centres," said Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ashutosh Jindal.

According to him, the paramilitary forces would be posted inside the counting centres while the state's armed and other security forces would guard the outer zone. "Several teams of experts from the Electronic Corporation of India will be ready at each counting centre to rectify snags in the electronic voting machines," the official told reporters.

The February 14, 2013 voting decided the fate of 249 candidates, including 15 women and many Independents, in 60 constituencies of the state assembly. Over 2,500 officials, including counting supervisors and counting assistants, have been deployed for counting ballots in 60 halls at 17 venues, an official said.

Orders prohibiting any gathering of five or more people have been imposed within 200 metres of each counting centre equipped with CCTV cameras. Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) state secretary Bijan Dhar said, "We will win in more seats this time as compared to the last assembly elections and our vote share would increase substantially."

"We are happy with the record 93.57 per cent of the 2,355,446 electorate casting their vote. In the 2008 and 2003 elections, the heavy turnout went in favour of the Left Front," he said.

State Congress chief Sudip Roy Barman said: "The Congress-Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura-Nationalist Conference of Tripura alliance will form the next government."

In 2008, the Left Front registered a thumping victory. The CPM alone won 46 seats and partners Communist Party of India and Revolutionary Socialist Party secured respectively one and two seats. The Congress bagged 10 seats and the INPT one.

(With additional information from PTI and IANS)