Agartala (Tripura) [India]: Will the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) end the Left government’s 25-year run in Tripura? This is the moot question being asked just ahead of the counting of votes in Tripura.
The counting will begin on Saturday for the voting held on February 18 for 59 Tripura assembly constituencies. The election in Charilam constituency was postponed to March 12 after the death of Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI-M] candidate Ramendra Narayan Debbarma.
The tenure of 60-seat Tripura Legislative Assembly ends on March 6, 2018.
The much-awaited counting in this north-eastern state will decide the electoral fortunes of 292 candidates, including 23 women.
The BJP, which fielded candidates on 51 seats, fought the elections with an alliance with the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) that fielded nine candidates.
Apart from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah, many senior BJP leaders vigorously campaigned in Tripura.
While the CPIM-M fielded 57 candidates; the Communist Party of India (CPI), the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), and the All India Forward Bloc (AIFB) fielded one candidate each.
The Congress Party fought elections on 59 seats, while the All India Trinamool Congress on 24 seats.
While the political parties in Tripura are keeping their fingers crossed, exit polls have given mixed predictions. Some have said the BJP will dethrone the Left Front led by Manik Sarkar, which has governed Tripura since the 1998 election.
However, the real picture will emerge after the counting ends on Saturday.
An exit poll by NewsX TV channel gave the BJP alliance 35-45 seats and said the Left Front would bag 14-23 seats while one seat would be won by others.
The Centre for Voting Opinion & Trends in Election Research (CVoter) predicted a close fight between the BJP and the Left. It said the Left would win 26-34 seats with 44.3 percent vote share.
It predicted the BJP alliance to win in 24-32 seats with a vote share of 42.8 percent and said the Congress Party might win in two seats with 7.2 percent vote share.
Buoyed by the formation of governments in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, the BJP is making a bid to expand its footprints in the region.
Out of the total 60 seats in the Tripura Assembly, 20 are reserved for the Scheduled Caste (SC) candidates, while 10 are reserved for Scheduled Tribe (ST) candidates. The rest of the 30 seats are for General candidates.
Another highlight of this year’s assembly elections was that Voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT)-fitted EVMs were used in entire Tripura state in all polling stations, which was the first time that the entire state saw the implementation of VVPAT.
The last election for the Tripura Legislative assembly was held in February 2013. The Communist Party of India- Marxist [CPI-M] won 49 out of the 60 assembly seats. The CPI won only 1 seat while the Indian National Congress managed 10 seats in the election. Manik Sarkar of the CPI (M) became the Chief Minister of the state for his fourth term. (ANI)