Voting across 59 of 60 Assembly seats in Tripura began at 7 am on Sunday. Polling in Charilam Assembly constituency will be held on March 12 due to the death of the CPI(M) candidate for the seat, Ramendra Narayan Deb Barma.
The BJP has emerged as the main challenger to the ruling Left Front, which has been in power in the state for the last 25 years.
The BJP held a high-voltage campaign with Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing as many as four rallies in the state. Other heavyweight leaders of the saffron party to take part in the campaign were its national president Amit Shah, Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Nitin Gadkari, Smriti Irani and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Manik Sarkar, who is running for his fifth term as the chief minister, led the CPI(M)'s campaign addressing around 50 rallies in the state. Other Left leaders like Sitaram Yechury and Brinda Karat lent support to the party's campaign.
The Congress' campaign was somewhat subdued with party president Rahul Gandhi addressing a rally at Kailashahar in Unakoti district, about 180 kms from Agartala, on the last day of campaigning.
As it happened:
09:20 pm: Voter turnout till now (around 9 pm) is 78.56 %. Voting is still underway at few polling stations. Voting slips were distributed till 4 pm and those voters are at the booths: Election Commission
07:09 pm: 76% voter turnout in 41 constituencies
05:23 pm: No incidents of violence were reported from anywhere in the state. Two crude bombs were recovered which were disposed off: Election Commission
05:19 pm: 74% voter turnout till 4 pm, it likely to go up as there are people in queues to vote even now: Election Commission
05:18 pm: In one constituency, the polling will be held on 12th March as it was rescheduled because of demands of one candidate: Election Commission
05:16 pm: There were several complaints of malfunctioning of EVMs, many were found to be false. 12 ballot units were replaced: Election Commission
05:15 pm: Voting still continuing in many polling stations: Election Commission
05:11 pm: VVPAT was used for the first time in all the polling booths in Tripura: Election Commission
04:10 pm: Moderate voting continues in hilly state, 65 per cent voter turnout registered till 3 pm.
1:52 pm: It is going on smoothly. We hope the momentum carries on. There were a couple of issues in EVMs in the morning. Our team has resolved the issue. We will be able to complete polling before the stipulated time: Sriram Taranikanti, Chief Electoral Officer Tripura
1:40 pm: 45.86% voting recorded till 1.00 pm
1:28 pm: The PM had appealed the people of Tripura to come out to vote. We are confident that people will listen to him & join us in our slogan of 'Cholo Paltai': Ram Madhav, BJP National General Secretary
11:33 am: 23.25% voter turnout recorded till 11 AM
09:37 am: 11% voter turnout recorded till 9 am in Tripura Elections
BJP #Tripura President Biplab Kumar Deb cast his vote at booth number 31/34 in Udaipur, says, 'these election results will be historic, we will definitely win. PM & Amit Shah ji called me & gave good wishes.' #TripuraElection2018 pic.twitter.com/9JuawbE2QL— ANI (@ANI) February 18, 2018
#TripuraElection2018: People queue to cast their votes at polling booth number 31/34 in Tripura's Udaipur, say, 'we want a government that can push for development in the state.' pic.twitter.com/oeck7Eg76e— ANI (@ANI) February 18, 2018
7:25 am: I appeal to my sisters and brothers of Tripura, particularly young voters, to turnout in record numbers and cast their vote in the Assembly Elections: PM Narendra Modi
I appeal to my sisters and brothers of Tripura, particularly young voters, to turnout in record numbers and cast their vote in the Assembly Elections.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 18, 2018
7:00 am: Voting begins across 59 assembly seats