Tripura 2018

'Chalo paltai' finds its resonance in Tripura

Tripura BJP chief Biplab Kumar.

Tripura BJP chief Biplab Kumar.  

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CPI(M) down to 16, Congress draws a blank

The BJP on Saturday swept the Tripura Assembly polls, breaching a bastion of the Left in the first direct battle between the two in an Assembly election.

The BJP and its ally, the Indigenous People’s Front of Twipra (IPFT), won 43 of the 59 seats to which elections were held. The Left Front, led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist), got just 16, down from 50 five years ago. The Congress, which had won 10 seats in 2013, drew a blank.

Saturday’s outcome — a two-thirds majority in Tripura — has brought the BJP closer to its goal of Congress-mukt northeast, particularly with Meghalaya and Nagaland giving a fractured verdict.

 

Anti-incumbency was a major factor in BJP’s performance, a huge jump from the 1.54% votes it garnered in 2013.

But, as activist-analyst Pranab Sarkar said, the Left Front misread the BJP’s ability and had no answer to its aggressive campaign.

Factors such as non-payment of Seventh Pay Commission award to 1.6 lakh government employees, weighed in.

Wrong signals

The BJP did send the wrong signals to the majority Bengali population when it tied up with the IPFT, which has been demanding a separate State for the 33% tribal population. But insistence on ‘one Tripura’ helped it set things in order.

The IPFT, whose 17 candidates lost their deposits in the previous elections, reaped the benefit of the BJP’s chalo paltai (Let’s change) cry to win eight of the nine seats it contested.

“People wanted freedom from years of communist misrule and bullying; only CPI(M) cadres were given benefits. People endured them only because there was no strong opposition until now,” Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who handled the BJP’s campaign in the three States, said.

Prior to the polls, Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said the BJP used money and muscle to win Tripura by “hook or crook”.

He also alluded to rallies by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Cabinet colleagues to underline the “saffron desperation”.

But BJP’s State unit president Biplab Kumar Deb said hundreds of party workers had braved hostility from the Left Front to penetrate the remotest of areas and match the reds cadre for cadre. “The result is an outcome of their hard work and the blood that Left Front spilled,” he said.

To review result

CPI(M) State secretary Bijan Dhar said his party would review the causes of the electoral failure. “Our central committee said the BJP did not win this election by fair means. We have demanded recounting in a few seats,” he said.

The seats include Dhanpur, the Chief Minister’s home turf.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 5:40:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/tripura-2018/chalo-paltai-finds-its-resonance-in-tripura/article22920814.ece

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