Agartala: The ruling BJP retained power in Tripura by securing an absolute majority on its own claiming 32 seats in the 60-member Assembly in the vote count on Thursday.
With its ally Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) winning one seat, the coalition which has been running the tiny North Eastern state for the last five years, clinched 33 seats. The polls were held on February 16.
Tribal outfit TIPRA Motha, given the shape of a political party only two years back, emerged as the largest opposition party with 13 seats
The new Left Front-Congress alliance, which had thrown a challenge to the BJP, failed to dislodge the saffron outfit from power, and settled for 14 seats. LF major CPI-M won 11 and the Congress got three seats.
Chief Minister Manik Saha and all his ministers, except Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma, won their seats. Speaker of the outgoing Assembly Ratan Chakraborty and his deputy Biswa Bandhu Sen also registered victories.
The Chief Minister won the prestigious Town Bardowali seat by 1257 votes over his nearest rival veteran Congress leader and three times MLA Asish Kumar Saha.
The race, however, was tight. Manik Saha, a dental surgeon who became the chief minister only last year, had defeated Asish Kumar Saha in a by-poll last June by more than 6,000 votes.
Jishnu Dev Varma lost in the Charilam seat by a margin of 651 votes to his nearest rival of TIPRA Motha’s Subodh Debbarma. Dev Varma had won the seat in 2018 with the highest margin of 25000 votes.
State BJP President Rajib Bhattacharjee also bit the dust in Banamalipur constituency by a margin of 1253 votes to veteran Congress leader Gopal Roy. The party suffered another setback as its state general secretary Papiya Datta lost to Congress stalwart Sudip Roybarman by a margin of 8162 votes.
Two other BJP general secretaries Kishore Barman and Tinku Roy won from Nalchar and Chandipur seats by a margin of 2508 and 620 votes respectively.
The union minister of state for empowerment and social justice Pratima Bhowmik won the Dhanpur seat by a margin of 3440 votes.
The lone victorious IPFT candidate Shukla Charan Noatia, got elected from the Julaibari seat, a stronghold of CPI-M.
The CPI (M) state secretary Jitendra Chaudhury, Congress president Birjit Sinha and MLA Sudip Roybarman won their seats.
An elated Manik Saha said the BJP won because of the government’s development activities and the welfare schemes of the central government.
“I was confident in winning during my campaign because people liked the development activities of BJP led government in the state and the welfare schemes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. I hope the second term of BJP government will be more effective and there will be more development and welfare,” Dr Saha told media.
He said that BJP’s victory was certain long back but the opposition didn’t realize it rather they thought negation politics would pave their way to success, and added, “We always prefer to do politics for the people and erase the negativity because voters are mature enough to demarcate the good and bad – it’s a lesson for the parties and the leaders as a whole.”
On the other hand, the Congress-LF leaders blamed the TIPRA Motha for dividing the opposition votes.
The ‘Motha’ supremo royal scion Pradyot Kishore Manikya DebBarma had called upon his party workers and supporters not to divide the opposition vote, but it appears from the poll results that the tribal outfit’s presence only benefited the BJP, alleged Congress leader Prasanta Bhattacharjee.
“In several other constituencies, Motha played the spoilsport for the opposition which will be clearer only after the final results are out,” said CPI-M leader Ratan Das adding that at least 15 seat CPI-M and Congress candidates lost in a narrow margin due to the Motha chipping away with precious votes.