By Our Correspondent
AGARTALA: Decimating the 25 year old Left Front government in Tripura to the tatters, opposition BJP today swept the state assembly polls by winning 43 out of 59 assembly seats that went to elections on Feb 18.
As per office of CEO Sriram Taranikanti, BJP candidates emerged victorious in 35 seats while their ally – Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) won 8 seats out of nine in which they contested. Left Front biggies including Transport Minister Manik Dey, Agriculture Minister Aghore Debbarma lost to BJP candidates.
Counting started at 8 AM today in twenty counting centers across the state. Fifty nine seats went to polls in the state; elections was suspended at Charilam constituency after Left Front candidate expired of cardiac arrest one week before polls. The seat would now go to polls on March 12.
As per latest information, BJP secured 43 percent of all votes cast during polling process while IPFT bagged 7.5 percent of the votes. CPIM secured 42.7 percent votes, trailing shortly behind BJP.
However, in terms of seats won, CPIM got only 16 seats. The Left Front won 50 seats in 2013 assembly polls and increased the bag by one more constituency after it won Barjala assembly constituency in a by-election in 2016.
Reacting to the poll results, CPIM state secretary Bijan Dhar said this evening that the result was ‘unexpected’. He expressed dissatisfaction at the poll outcome and said the results didn’t match peoples’ support which was seen during campaigning.
“We shall review the poll outcome and find out the reasons that led to this”, Dhar told a press conference this evening.
He also said that his party would review possibilities of ‘digital manipulations’ indicating at possible tampering of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM). The communist party earlier lodged complaints with the ECI over EVM tampering several times, especially after BJP state president Biplab Kumar Deb drew controversy over one of his comments last year where he said votes would be credited to ‘lotus’ symbol even if Chief Minister Manik Sarkar cast his vote for CPIM.
Pradesh Congress spokesperson Harekrishna Bhowmik congratulated voters for voting against Left Front and said his party ‘welcomed’ mandate of the people. He said Congress would assess poll results in an AICC Plenary meeting that would start from March 16.
BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav thanked voters for voting in favour of his party and said BJP would ensure that proper and stable government was ensured for the people.
He said his party owned credit of the victory to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party president Amit Shah and other leaders who ‘toiled hard’ to achieve the results.
Colourful celebrations were seen in the streets of Agartala since late afternoon today as final results of assembly constituencies in Agartala city and its suburbs were getting announced. “We are happy the communists are not out of power”, Bimal Sutradhar, a youngman of 32, said at IGM Chowmuhani here, where BJP supporters were seen playing with saffron ‘gulal’ and dancing to the tunes of victory numbers.
BJP emerged as major challenger to the Left Front with aggressive poll promises that included introduction of 7th Pay Commission benefits, higher labour wage rates, employment for all among other key issues.