Air surveillance for peaceful polls in Tripura

April 22nd, 2009 - 4:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Agartala, April 22 (IANS) With military helicopters maintaining air surveillance, paramilitary troopers Wednesday geared up to face any “eventuality” as voting for the two Tripura Lok Sabha constituencies gets underway Thursday.
“Over 25,000 central paramilitary troopers have taken their positions across the state to deal with separatist outfits before and during the Thursday’s polling,” Pranay Sahay, director general of police, told reporters.

Sahay said “two defence helicopters with senior officials and paramilitary troopers” were maintaining “a close vigil on the prevailing situation”. He said the air surveillances would continue till Friday.

The police chief said though the tribal guerrillas had not initiated “any violence in the recent past, we have taken all out efforts to meet any kind of eventuality”.

Six central observers, 266 magistrates and 300 micro-observes have been appointed to oversee the poll process and ensure free and fair elections, said Sanjeev Ranjan, Tripura chief electoral officer.

About 20,000 poll officials escorted by security forces will be manning 3,008 polling stations across the state, the poll official said. Over 2.08 million voters, including 1.01 million women, will exercise their franchise. Voting will begin 7 a.m. and end 4 p.m.

Night curfew has been imposed along the borders with Bangladesh, Ranjan added.

Nineteen candidates, including a woman, are in the fray for the two Lok Sabha seats in Tripura. The main contest is between the ruling CPI-M-led Left Front, the Congress and the BJP.

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