Agartala: Election to the 60-member Assembly in Tripura, in which the Left Front is hoping to script history by returning to power for a record fifth time, began at 7 am today on a peaceful note amidst tight security, official sources said.
Voters were seen queueing up long before voting began. In interior areas, tribal people, mainly women dressed in their traditional and colourful best were seen standing in line.
An electorate of 23,52,505, including 11,64,656 women, will exercise their franchise in the elections being contested by 249 candidates belonging to 16 political parties besides independents.
The candidates include 14 women, who are four less than those who had contested in the 2008 elections.
With the main contest between the Left Front and the Congress, CPI-M, the dominant partner in the LF is contesting 55 seats, RSP two and CPI two and Forward Block one.
The Congress is contesting 48 seats and its alliance partners INPT at 11 and National Conference of Tripura at one.
Prominent candidates are Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, finance minister Badal Chowdhury, higher education minister Anil Sarkar, TPCC president Sudip Ray Barman, former chief minister Samir Ranjan Burman and president of the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura Bijay Hrankhwal.
Of the 3,041 booths, 409 have been identified as very sensitive (A+), 535 booths as very sensitive (A) and 726 booths as sensitive.
Altogether 250 companies of central paramilitary forces have been deployed to maintain law and order.
The BSF has sealed the 856 km-long border with Bangladesh and deployed additional forces to prevent infiltration.