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Over 68 pc votes cast in Tripura West till 3 pm amid allegations of irregularities

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AGARTALA, April 19: Tripura West Lok Sabha constituency registered a voter turnout of 68.11 per cent till 3 pm on Friday amid allegations of irregularities.

The opposition Congress and CPI(M) alleged that large-scale “rigging” happened in several places across the constituency, with the Election Commission saying that it received some complaints and was looking into those.

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In the bypolls to Ramnagar assembly seat, which was being held simultaneously, a turnout of 56.68 per cent was recorded.

“Polling has been largely peaceful. Some complaints of stopping voters from going to booths, driving out of polling agents and malfunctioning of EVMs were received. We are checking all the complaints,” Tripura West Returning Officer Vishal Kumar said.

Security forces are keeping a close watch on the situation, he said.

Amidst threats and intimidations of voters and polling agents, a delegation of opposition INDIA bloc met Kumar and urged him to ensure that all eligible voters can exercise their franchise.

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“For the past two days, BJP-backed miscreants have been threatening selected polling agents of INDIA bloc in various subdivisions of Tripura West Parliamentary constituency and Ramnagar assembly seat. Many voters were driven out of the voting line. We briefed these matters to the RO for seeking remedial measures”, Asish Saha, INDIA bloc candidate for Tripura West Lok Sabha seat told reporters.

Congress-supported CPI(M) candidate in Ramnagar, Ratan Das, alleged that “goons” drove out his agents from most of the booths.

Das said he handed over a letter to the RO informing him about largescale irregularities in several booths of Ramnagar.

“In the Ramnagar assembly seat, voters living along the Indo-Bangla border were threatened on Thursday evening not to go to the polling booths. The BJP workers forcibly took away the voter slips distributed by the EC”,  Das wrote in the letter.

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BJP chief spokesperson Subrata Chakraborty, however, refuted the allegations of rigging and threats to voters and polling agents.

“Voters were seen in long queues and there was no threat or intimidation. Actually, people have not accepted the electoral tie-up between the CPI(M) and Congress. That’s why they did not find their election agents. We are sure that the deposits of INDIA bloc candidates will be forfeited”, he said.

Altogether 14.61 lakh people are eligible to vote in Tripura.

Congress has pitted Saha against BJP’s Biplab Kumar Deb, the former CM, in the Tripura West seat.

In Ramnagar, where 54,669 voters are eligible to exercise their franchise, the BJP has fielded Agartala mayor Dipak Majumder against CPI(M)’s Das. (PTI)

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