Over 88% vote in Tripura tribal autonomous body by-poll

Agartala, Aug 23 (IANS) Over 88 per cent of the 22,481 electors on Tuesday cast their votes in a by-election to a seat in Tripura’s lone tribal autonomous council.

The counting of votes will be held on August 26.

The main electoral battle is between the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist and a tribal party backed by the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Trinamool Congress in Simna-Tamakari constituency (in west Tripura) under the Tripura Tribal Areas Autononmous District Council (TTAADC).

“Around 88.46 per cent voters cast their votes in the by-election. No major untoward incident was reported in the by-election,” state Election Commission Secretary Prasenjit Chakraborty told IANS.

Seven candidates are in fray for the by-poll, necessitated following the death of CPI-M member Ranabir Debbarma earlier this year.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Trinamool Congress supported the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) candidate Mangal Debbarma though the BJP had earlier put up a candidate for the seat.

The main contest is between CPI-M’s Kumudh Debbarma and IPFT’s Mangal Debbarma.

The IPFT, demanding a separate state carved out of Tripura by upgrading the TTAADC, has become a major tribal party over the years and organised several agitations in Tripura and New Delhi in support of their demand.

The ruling Left Front, with a substantial base among the tribals and non-tribals, now governs the TTAADC, formed by amending the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution in 1985, to improve the socio-economic condition of the tribals, who constitute one-third of Tripura’s four million population.

“Though the by-poll outcome will not affect the power equation in the TTAADC, it is considered as an important indicator for future politics in the tribal areas of Tripura due to the BJP and Trinamool support to IPFT, which emerged as one of the major political force in the tribal politics in the Left-ruled state,” political analyst Sanjib Deb said.

He said: “The CPI-M is vulnerable as in the last elections to the TTAADC, its candidate defeated the IPFT nominee by a thin margin of only 509 votes, that too due to division in the votes bagged by opposition political parties.”

–IANS

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