Agartala, June 11 (IANS): Amidst unprecedented security and high political significance, the by-election to the Nalchar Assembly constituency in western Tripura would be held on Tuesday.
"In all, over 600 BSF (Border Security Force), several hundred CRPF(Central Reserve Police Force) and TSR (Tripura State Rifles) troopers have been deployed to conduct trouble-free polls," returning officer Sankar Chakraborty told reporters.
With the setting up of seven checkposts and gun-toting paramilitary troopers patrolling the poll-bound area, the entire Nalchar constituency has turned into a fortress.
The official said that the Election Commission has also appointed a record four central observers to oversee the by-election, which was necessitated following the death of ruling Communist Party ofIndia-Marxist (CPI-M) legislator Sukumar Barman March 10.
Elected to the State Assembly five times since 1988 from this scheduled caste-dominated constituency, 55 km west of here, Barman was also the transport and fisheries minister from March 2003 to June 2004.
Though four candidates are contesting the by-election, the main contest would be held between CPI-M contender Tapan Chandra Das and Congress nominee Dwijendralal Majumder.
Altogether 33,392 people, including 15,850 women are eligible to exercise their electoral franchise in the by-polls. Counting of ballots will be held June 15.
Political observers feel that eight months ahead of the crucial assembly elections in the lone Left-ruled state, the by-election is politically significant, both for the ruling Left parties and the main opposition Congress.
Elections to the Tripura State Assembly are scheduled in Feb 2013.
Top CPI-M leaders including Chief Minister and CPI-M politburo member Manik Sarkar and senior Congress leaders including AICC general secretary Luizinho Faleiro, state Congress president Sudip Roy Barman and opposition leader Ratan Lal Nath have performed hurricane campaigns during the past one month to win the by-poll.
After Tripura became a full-fledged state in Feb 1972, the Nalchar Assembly seat had been won six times by the CPI-M and two times by the Congress.