Agartala: Over 90 per cent of the 78,400 electorate cast their votes on Saturday in by-elections to two assembly constituencies in Left ruled Tripura, officials said.
"Over 90 per cent voters cast their votes in the two assembly constituencies. Voting was conducted peacefully, there is not a single untoward incident reported from the two assembly constituencies," additional chief electoral officer of Tripura Debashish Modak told IANS soon after the balloting time was over at 4 p.m.
The by-elections were held in the scheduled caste reserved Barjala and Khowai assembly constituencies. The votes will be counted on November 22.
"There is no report of any untoward incident from anywhere in the two assembly seats. Balloting remained peaceful so far," police spokesman Uttam Bhowmik told IANS.
He said: "An abandoned bag containing some explosive materials was found near a polling booth at Singichara under Khowai assembly constituency. Security forces cordoned-off the area to avert panic among the people. Bomb disposal squad has rushed to the tribal dominated area to do the needful."
According to Bhowmik, in both the constituencies some Electronic Voting Machines developed technical snags leading to a halt in balloting for some times, but it resumed after the problems were fixed.
"Heavy security arrangements were made to hold the by-elections in both the assembly segments smoothly. Over nine companies of central paramilitary force -- BSF (Border Security Force) and CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) -- have been deployed in the poll-bound assembly segments and their adjoining areas," Director General of Tripura Police K. Nagaraj told IANS.
"Besides the central paramilitary forces, adequate numbers of state forces, including elite and counter-insurgency trained TSR (Tripura State Rifles), have also been deployed in the vicinity of the Barjala and Khowai assembly constituencies," the police chief added.
The Barjala seat fell vacant after Congress legislator Jitendra Sarkar resigned on June 6 following an internal feud within the party while the Khowai seat has been vacant since the death of veteran CPI-M legislator Samir Deb Sarkar.
Five candidates each are contesting from the two constituencies. In all 39,007 voters, including 18,935 females, will be eligible to cast ballot in the Barjala constituency. In Khowai, 39,400 voters are eligible, among them 19,436 are women.
Both by-polls would be four-cornered contests, among ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led ruling Left Front, opposition Trinamool Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress.