Agartala: The Left Front government, led by Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, is looking to regain power in the 60-member State Assembly with a fourth consecutive victory. Tripura Congress Chief Sudip Ray Barman and the President of Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura Bijay Hrankhwal are among 249 candidates in the fray.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, which has never won a seat in Tripura, has fielded 20 candidates. A total of 250 companies of central paramilitary forces have been deployed in the state to maintain law and order.
The CPI-M, the dominant partner in the Left Front, is contesting 56 seats, RSP two and CPI and Forward Block one each. The Congress is contesting 48 seats and its alliance partners INPT in 11 and National Conference of Tripura in one.
The candidates include 14 women, who are four less than those who had contested in the 2008 elections. An electorate of 23,52,505 including 11,64,656 women are expected to exercise their franchise in the election contested by a total of 16 political parties and independents.
The CPI(M), which has taken credit for ending the four-decade-old insurgency in the state and ensuring peace and communal harmony, is projecting Tripura as a model state in terms of good governance having topped the list in the implementation of MNREGA. The CPI(M) has also highlighted the 15 awards it received from the Centre for successful implementation of various schemes.
The Congress-INPT-NCT alliance has made "bad governance" of the Manik Sarkar-led government a poll issue, alleging that despite availability of central funds, employees, unemployed and farmers remained deprived during the 20-year LF regime. Corruption and nepotism by party leaders and partisan behaviour of the government are also important issues for the alliance.
Prominent leaders who campaigned in the run-up to the election include Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, Union minister Deepa Das Munshi, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, CPI-M leaders Prakash Karat, Sitaram Yechury, Surya Kanta Mishra and Brinda Karat.
Of the 3,041 booths, 409 have been identified as very sensitive (A+), 535 booths as very sensitive (A) and 726 booths as sensitive. Altogether 250 companies of central paramilitary forces have been deployed in the state to maintain law and order.
The Border Security Force has sealed the 856 km border with Bangladesh and deployed additional forces to prevent infiltration. The Election Commission has formed flying squads and Static Surveillance Teams to combat the menace of cash doles and bribes and carrying of illegal arms. Static Surveillance Teams and Flying squads have been set up in all 60 constituencies with police and government officials headed by a magistrate.
(With Additional Inputs From PTI)