Agartala: Despite inclement weather, over 83 percent of the 92,146 voters on Saturday cast their vote in the by-elections to two assembly constituencies in Tripura, officials said.

The balloting, which started at 8 a.m., in Pratapgarh and Surma assembly segments was absolutely peaceful.

This is for the first time candidates’ photographs have been displayed in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) to avoid confusion among the voters.

“Over 83 percent voters have cast their ballot in the by-election of Pratapgarh and Surma. The election was absolutely peaceful and smooth,” additional chief electoral officer Debashish Modak told IANS.

“There was no report of any incident, except malfunctioning of two EVMs, reported from the two seats,” Modak said.

He said there was no complaint of electoral misconduct raised by any political party.

“Voters, including women, were seen queuing up to exercise their franchise in most of the 115 polling stations in both assembly constituencies,” the official said.

Modak said : “Central para-military force and Tripura State Rifles personnel were deployed for smooth polling.”

Inspector general of police (police control) Nepal Das told IANS that no untoward incident was reported during the polling.

According to the officials, 50,004 voters in Pratapgarh and 42,142 in Surma assembly constituencies were eligible to cast their votes to choose their representative from the nine candidates in the fray.

The Election Commission had appointed four observers, around a 100 micro-observers and several hundred polling personnel for the by-polls.

Counting of ballots for the assembly seats, both reserved for the Scheduled Castes, will be held on June 30.

The by-elections were necessitated after the death of ruling CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist) stalwart and former minister Anil Sarkar (Pratapgarh) and former minister Sudhir Das (Surma).

Sarkar represented his constituency eight times in a row since 1978 while Das won the Surma seat on five consecutive occasions since 1993.

Besides CPI-M, the main opposition Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party and other smaller parties put up candidates in Pratapgarh (in western Tripura) and Surma (in northern Tripura) assembly constituencies.

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