Around 77 per cent of the 141,251 voters cast their votes during the re-polling at 168 polling stations in the Tripura West parliamentary constituency on Sunday, election officials said. In the troubled-marred polling on April 11 in the first phase of the Lok Sabha election, 83.15 per cent turnout was recorded.
According to Deputy Inspector General of Police, Southern Range, Arindam Nath, voting in the 26 Assembly segments was peaceful with no major incident reported from anywhere in the constituency.
Voting began amidst unprecedented security at 7 a.m. and formally ended at 5 p.m.
A total of 141,251 voters, including 69,328 women, were eligible to exercise their franchise to choose between 13 candidates, including a woman, in the fray.
Over 7,000 security personnel from central paramilitary forces and the Tripura State Rifles were deployed to ensure free and fair re-poll.
Returning Officer Vikas Singh told IANS that only paramilitary troopers were deployed at the polling stations, and voters braved soaring summer temperatures to come and cast their ballots.
Singh, the District Magistrate and Collector of the West Tripura district, said in view of the rising temperature and humidity, the administration had arranged temporary sheds and drinking water for voters.
According to the Meteorological Department, in the past one week, the maximum temperature has been hovering around 38 degree Celsius, four-five degrees above the average.
Police spokesman Subrata Chakraborty said no untoward incident was reported from anywhere in the poll-bound areas spread across four districts. “Snags in voting machines halted polling in few places for a while, but these were corrected soon,” Chakraborty told IANS.
The Election Commission decided to conduct re-poll in 168 of the total of 1,679 polling stations of the constituency due to electoral malpractices during voting on April 11.
Allegations of malpractices, intimidation and violence forced the EC to appoint former Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi as Special Observer and remove Returning Officer Sandeep Mahatme and Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Rajiv Singh.
An unprecedented number of election officials were suspended and a large number of FIRs were filed by the assistant returning officers against micro observers, polling officers and political activists who either indulged in malpractices or remained mute spectators during this period.
Meanwhile, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and the Congress have approached the Supreme Court for fresh polling in the entire constituency.