Agartala: The people of Tripura will vote tomorrow in a state where Chief Minister Manik Sarkar's Left Front government has been in power for 25 years and is looking for a straight win this time. But the fight is not going to be easy for Mr Sarkar, election analysts say, as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), propelled by the heft of the centre's backing, has been attacking the Left Front on critical issues from the state's economic growth to other yardsticks of development.
The BJP's offensive in Tripura was led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who addressed four rallies in the Left-ruled state in the north-east.
Mr Sarkar, who is running for his fifth term as chief minister, led the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI(M) campaign, addressing some 50 rallies in the state. Other CPI(M) leaders such as Sitaram Yechury and Brinda Karat supported the party's campaign.
For the Congress, party president Rahul Gandhi addressed a rally at Kailashahar in Unakoti district, 180 km from capital Agartala, on the last day of campaigning.
The Election Commission said 307 candidates are contesting the Tripura assembly elections. Polling will be held in 59 of the total 60 seats. Voting in Charilam assembly constituency will be held on March 12 due to the death of CPI(M) candidate for the seat, Ramendra Narayan Deb Barma, five days ago.
Twenty seats have been reserved for the Scheduled Tribes.
The CPI(M) is contesting in 57 seats and while the other Left Front constituents, the RSP, Forward Bloc and CPI, in one seat each.
The BJP, which has forged an alliance with tribal outfit Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT), has fielded 51 candidates. IPFT will contest in the remaining nine seats.
Of 25 lakh voters, a little over 13 lakh are male and12 lakh are women. The Election Commission said there are 47,803 people who will vote for the first time.
Voting will be held between 7 am and 4 pm tomorrow at 3,214 polling stations; 47 of them will be managed by women, election office sources said.
Tripura Chief Electoral Officer Sriram Taranikanti said Director General of Indo-Tibetan Border Police RK Pachnanda has been appointed special observer to coordinate security forces deployed in the state.
Senior police officer Akhil Kumar Shukla said tight security measures are in place across Tripura for free and fair elections. Three hundred companies of central armed forces have been deployed across Tripura along with state armed personnel and the police, he said, adding the Border Security Force is keeping a close watch along the 856-km-long in Tripura in the Indian side on the border with Bangladesh.
Results will be out on March 3.
With inputs from PTI