Byelections for four Assembly seats in Tripura began at 7 am on Thursday amid huge deployment of Central Forces. Voting is being held at 221 booths for Agartala, Town Bardowali, Surma and Jubarajnagar seats. Polling will end at 5 pm, while the results will be declared on June 26.
As many as 25 companies of central para military forces, barring Tripura State Rifles, are deployed, news agency PTI reported. Four seats are up for grabs with 25 candidates fighting for them. At least 1,89,032 registered voters will be exercising their franchise.
The byelections in Agartala and Town Bardowali constituencies fell vacant as BJP legislators Sudip Roy Barman and Ashish Saha defected to Congress earlier this year. Bypolls in the Surma seat was necessitated after BJP MLA Asish Das was disqualified by the speaker under anti-defection law after he had joined Trinamool Congress last year. Das had left TMC earlier this year. Jubarajnagar seat fell vacant after the death of CPI(M) MLA Ramendra Chandra Debnath.
Dr Manik Saha, who was recently sworn-in as the Chief Minister, will face his first big challenge as he takes on Congress’ Asish Saha, former five-time MLA, from Town Bardowali. As the state goes to elections next year, the bypolls to four seats are being seen as a semi-final contest. After Biplab Deb stepped down recently in a surprise move, there has been a lot of discontent reported within the ruling BJP party. For Saha, who is a Rajya Sabha MP, this is his first assembly election.
Out of the four seats that are going to the bypolls, three had belonged to BJP, while the remaining one belonged to the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
Among the other big opposition parties, TMC and the Left Front have fielded candidates in all the four constituencies.