"The NOTA (None Of The Above) option has been made available for the first time on ballot papers."
Agartala, July 15 - Hundreds of thousands of people voted Tuesday to elect three-tier gram panchayats in Left-ruled Tripura.

Inspector General of Police Nepal Das told IANS that voting was peaceful barring clashes among political activists in three places.

According to the Election Commission, half of the 13,754 candidates are women.

For the first time in Tripura, 50 percent seats in gram panchayats, panchayat samitis and zilla parishads have been reserved for women, state Election Commissioner Y. Kumar said.

Voting is being held for 5,129 seats in gram panchayats, 381 seats in panchayat samitis and 398 seats in zilla parishads.

Candidates backed by the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist have already won unopposed 980 seats in gram panchayats, 38 seats in panchayat samitis and two seats in zilla parishads.

Counting of ballots will be done Friday.

A total of 1.1 million voters can vote. Ballot boxes, and not electronic voting machines, are being used.

The NOTA (None Of The Above) option has been made available for the first time on ballot papers.

In the last elections to the local bodies five years ago, the CPI-M-led Left Front secured a majority in 414 gram panchayats and in all the panchayat samitis and zilla parishads.


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