Tripura’s By-Elections: Peaceful Turnout Marred by Isolated Incidents

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Sepahijala: An elderly voter being assisted as he arrives to cast his vote during the by-elections to Boxanagar assembly seat, in Tripura's Sepahijala district, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023. (PTI Photo)(PTI09_05_2023_000088A)
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The by-elections in Tripura’s Dhanpur (No-23) and Boxanagar (No-20) assembly constituencies concluded today with an overall peaceful atmosphere, albeit marred by isolated incidents of violence in Dhanpur. As the day progressed, an average voter turnout of 76 percent was recorded till 3 pm, highlighting the active participation of citizens in the democratic process. This article delves into the key developments of the by-elections and the challenges encountered.

Peaceful Turnout Amidst Stray Violence:

The day began with the polling process commencing at 7 am across 59 booths in Dhanpur and 51 in Boxanagar. Until 6:00 PM, the voter turnout stood at an impressive 81.34% in Dhanpur and 85.52% in Boxanagar. These figures may see further increases after the final count, as accounting from remote areas is yet to be computed.

However, the day was not without its challenges, particularly in tribal-dominated areas like Tuibandal and Mohanbhog within Dhanpur. In these areas, eight BJP workers were injured in attacks by voters. The injured individuals were swiftly transferred from Melaghar Hospital to GBP Hospital in Agartala for treatment. As of 7:00 PM, the police had not released detailed information about the reasons behind these attacks, leaving questions unanswered.

Allegations and Challenges:

Jiten Chowdhury, the state secretary of the CPI(M), expressed concerns about the elections, noting that the party was unable to deploy polling agents in 60% of the polling booths in Dhanpur and 51% in Boxanagar. He alleged that there had been an atmosphere of silent terror and intimidation throughout the campaign and on polling day, suggesting that neither the Election Commission nor the police and paramilitary forces had effectively countered these tactics employed by the BJP.

Looking Ahead:

Despite the isolated incidents, the by-elections in Dhanpur and Boxanagar showcased the active participation of voters in Tripura’s democratic process. The challenges encountered underscore the importance of maintaining security and integrity during elections. As the results are awaited, it remains to be seen how these by-elections will shape the political landscape in the region. The democratic spirit of the voters who turned out in large numbers serves as a testament to the enduring importance of free and fair elections in shaping the future of a nation.

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