"The NOTA (None Of The Above) provision has been made available for the first time on the ballot papers."
Agartala, July 15 - Over 80 percent of the 1.1 million electors Tuesday cast their votes in the elections to the three-tier gram panchayat in Left-ruled Tripura, officials said here.
Inspector General of Police Nepal Das told IANS that the nine-hour balloting that ended 4 p.m. was peaceful barring clashes among political activists in three places.
State Election Commission secretary Tamal Majumder told IANS: Over 80 percent voters exercised their franchise in the rural bodies' polling.
Counting of ballots will be done Friday, he added.
Opposition parties, including the Trinamool Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, complained that ruling CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist) activists assaulted their workers at different places.
Majumder said half of the 13,754 candidates are women.
For the first time, 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 CPI-M have already won unopposed 980 seats in gram panchayats, 38 seats in panchayat samitis and two seats in zilla parishads.
Ballot boxes, and not electronic voting machines, were used.
The NOTA (None Of The Above) provision has been made available for the first time on the 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.