The battle lines for Tripura’s Mandate 2023 have been drawn with 32 out of a total of 291 candidates withdrawing from the fray on Thursday, the last day for exiting the electoral contest.
Those who withdrew included three candidates of the Congress to settle a seat-sharing dispute with the Left Front, headed by the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
But the differences between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the ally Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) over one seat, remained unresolved.
“A total of 310 candidates had filed their nominations but the papers of 19 were rejected. Of the 291 valid names, 32 were withdrawn leaving 259 in the fray,” the State’s Chief Electoral Officer, Kiran Dinkarrao Gitte said.
A total of 297 candidates, 24 of them women, contested the 2018 polls. The number of women candidates this time was 31.
The Left Front-Congress was saved the blues after three Congress candidates withdrew their nominations. The two parties had agreed to split the number of seats 47-13, but eyebrows were raised when the Congress named 17 candidates and filed nominations for three seats— Barjala, Badharghat and Radhakishorepur— beyond the number allotted to it.
“We took necessary action after instructions from our high command,” Congress MLA, Sudip Roy Barman said.
On the other hand, last-minute discussions failed to break the ice between the BJP and the IPFT over the Ampinagar seat, where the IPFT fielded Sindhu Chandra Jamatia against Patal Kanya Jamatiya of the BJP. Ampinagar was one of the 20 seats reserved for the Scheduled Tribes.
Final candidate list
According to the final list of candidates, the BJP has 55 candidates and the IPFT six instead of the five it was allotted. The CPI (M) has 43 candidates with four more shared by other Left Front constituents, while the Congress is contesting 13 seats.
The Tipra Motha, led by “bubagra (king)” Pradyot Bikram Manikya Debbarma, is contesting 42 seats, 22 beyond the areas inhabited by the 19 Scheduled Tribes it primarily caters to. The Trinamool Congress, not seen as authoritative as it is in Meghalaya, is contesting 28 seats.
There is a direct contest between the BJP and the Opposition alliance in three Assembly segments— Barjala in Agartala, Jubarajnagar in north Tripura and Sabroom in south Tripura.
“Of the 291 valid names, 32 were withdrawn leaving 259 in the fray”Kiran Dinkarrao GitteState’s Chief Electoral Officer