"The NOTA (None Of The Above) provision has been made available for the first time on the ballot papers."
Agartala, July 19 - Further consolidating its rural stronghold, Tripura's ruling Left Front, led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), Saturday won a landslide in the three-tier panchayats election in the state.

In a significant development, the Bharatiya Janata Party, for the first time, secured a majority in five gram panchayats and won many seats in several other gram panchayats and panchayat samitis.

The polling for the three-tier panchayats - gram panchayats, panchayat samitis and zilla parishads - was held Tuesday and the results were announced Saturday.

The CPI-M-led Left Front has secured absolute majority in 563 of the 591 gram panchayats and all the 35 panchayat samitis and eight zilla parishads, an official of the state election commission said.

Bijan Dhar, CPI-M state secretary and the party's central committee member, described the party's performance in the polls as unprecedented.

The main opposition Congress performed badly in the polls, securing a majority in only 18 gram panchayats. For the first time, the Trinamool Congress secured majority in three gram panchayats.

Over 90 percent of the 1.1 million electors Tuesday cast their votes in the election to the three-tier gram panchayats in Tripura, deciding the political fate of 13,754 candidates, half of whom are women.

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

Tripura currently has 591 gram panchayats (6,111 seats), 35 panchayat samitis (419 seats) and eight zilla parishads (116 seats). Voting was held for 5,129 seats in gram panchayats, 381 in panchayat samitis and 114 in zilla parishads.

Earlier, election to village committees (equivalent to gram panchayats) in the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council areas was held separatly.

Candidates backed by the CPI-M have already won unopposed 980 seats in gram panchayats, 38 seats in panchayat samitis and two seats in zilla parishads.

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

In the last election to the local bodies in 2009, 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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