Its’ The Congress Vote Bank, Back Bone Of Ruling, Tripura BJP

 In the first ever straight electoral fight between Right and Left political forces in Tripura, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) pulled off a massive victory over the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) in 2018. The assembly polls results declared on March 3 ended with the BJP, along with its ally the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), at the top of the tally with 35 and eight seats respectively. The CPI(M) won only 16 seats. In a seat-sharing arrangement, while IPFT contested from nine constituencies, the other 50 were fought by the BJP. Elections in the Charilam constituency were postponed to March 12 after CPI(M) candidate Ramendra Narayan Debbarma passed away on February 11. Both the BJP’s and IPFT’s wins are significant as till the 2013 elections, the two parties were nowhere in the traditional straight fight between the CPI(M) and Congress. Though the IPFT first contested the assembly polls in 2013, it failed to win a seat in the 60-member assembly. The BJP too had failed to open its account in the house till 2013. In the last polls, 49 of the BJP’s 50 candidates lost their deposits. In the 2008 elections, all of its 50 candidates failed to protect their deposits. Until the March 3 results, the only success the BJP had had in tripura was winning in 121 of the 6,111 seats in the gram panchayat elections in 2016. A dip into the numbers, however, shows that BJP’s grand victory in the northeastern state today is more of a loss for the Congress than the CPI(M). At the end of counting, the Congress’s vote share in the state, as per the Election Commission of India, reduced from 36.53% in 2013 to below 2%. While the CPI(M) may have come down from 49 seats to 16 in 2018, it has been able to hold on to quite a bit of its vote share. In 2013, it was 48.11%, as against 42.7% in 2018. What has been Congress’s loss is clearly a gain for the BJP. From a negligible 0.54% vote share in 2013, the party’s share has shot up to 43% in the 2018 polls. The winners among those MLAs who shifted allegiance to the BJP from Congress and Trinamool Congress included Ratan Lal Nath (won in Mohanpur by 22,516 votes), Surajit Datta (Ramnagar) Biswa Bandhu Sen (Dharmanagar by 19,854 votes), Dibachandra Hrangkhwal (Karmachara by 19,397 votes), Manoj Kanti Deb (Kamalpur by 20,165 votes), Biplab Kumar Ghosh (Matarbari by 23,069 votes), Dilip Sarkar (Badarghat with 28,561 votes) and Ashish Kumar Saha (Town Borsowali with 24,269 votes).

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