Stage set for tomorrow’s by-elections, despite measures and assurances from election commission fear remains the key

By Our Correspondent

Agartala, June 22, 2022

Amidst all the assurances of the election commission to the electorate regarding security measures and all round vigil to make tomorrow’s by-elections smooth and peaceful , the collective minds of the electorate are still gripped by an all-pervasive fear and misgivings over the actual peace and smoothness at the ground level to ensure peaceful polling in the four by-poll bound constituencies tomorrow. Already movement of outsiders from Bishalgarh, Jirania and Mohanpur has been noticed in the 8-Town Bardowali and 6-Agartala constituencies. In spite of sensitization programme in hotels, lodges and marriage halls and identified houses large number of mafia elements owing allegiance to the ruling party continue to move about stealthily for tomorrow’s operations. In certain cases the mafia elements have already taken shelter in some government run guest houses specially Bhagwat Singh Juba Awas , according to reports though the election commission is leaving nothing to chance.

The CPI (M) sources said that a large number of armed mafia elements have been prowling in the far-flung Surma assembly constituency in Kamalpur subdivision where identified voters are being threatened not to come out tomorrow for voting. But the situation may take a turn for the worse as the ‘Tipra Motha’ party has mobilized its workers and supporters to prevent rigging at least in tribal dominated areas . However the mafia elements backed by high-ups in the ruling party have specially targeted the 6-Agartala and 8-Town Bardowali constituencies where trouble seems likely tomorrow as the ruling party is determined to sabotage the chances of Sudip Roybarman and Asish Saha. “We are trying our best to ensure people can vote freely and fearlessly but a lot will depend on how well the security forces under the election commission perform their responsibilities” said sources close to Sudip Roybarman and Asish Saha.

As per details made available by the election commission in the sprawling 12.2 square km 6-Agartala assembly constituency there is an electorate of 51,739 who will cast their votes in 55 polling stations in 26 locations, There are sizable numbers of minority and tribal voters in this constituency where the main contest will revolve round Dr Ashok Sinha of BJP, Sudip Roybarman of Congress and Krishna Majumder of CPI (M). In the neighbouring 8-Town Bardowali constituency spread over 5.49 square kms the 46,583 strong electorate will cast their votes in 56 polling stations in 22 locations and the main contenders are chief minister Dr Manik Saha of BJP, Asish Saha of Congress and Raghunath Sarkar of Forward Block as part of the left front.

In the Surma (SC) constituency in Kamalpur subdivision spread over 18.2 square kms altogether 47,259 voters will cast their votes in 60 polling stations in 52 locations . In this troubletorn constituency the main contest is among CPI (M) candidate Anjan Das, BJP candidate Swapna Daspaul and Tipra Motha candidate and retrenched teacher Baburam Satnami. Similarly in Jubaraj Nagar constituency in Dharma Nagar subdivision spread over 9.1 square kms, the 43,373 strong electorate will cast votes in 50 polling stations in 39 locations for BJP candidate Malina Debnath, CPI (M) candidate Shailendra Nath and Congress candidate Susmita Debnath. There other candidates from smaller parties like Trinamool and Amra Bangali but they are unlikely to make any impact on the voters. The election commission has already notified poll schedule according to which voting will commence from 7-00 AM and close at 7-00 PM.

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