The assembly election in Tripura was held on February 18, with over 80 per cent voter turnout recorded by the Election Commission. While polling remained peaceful in the state, the run-up to the elections remained tense, with clashes between BJP and CPI(M) workers accusing each other of intimidating voters. The state is witnessing a direct battle between the ruling Left and the BJP, which is making inroads into the north-east.
The exit polls paint a bright picture for the BJP in the state, the Axis My India exit poll on News 24 channel gave the BJP and its allies 44-50 seats, Left 9-15 seats, and others 0-3 seats. The NewsX survey gave the BJP 35-45 seats, Left 14-23 seats, and none for the Congress.
Propelled by the Congress, whose seven MLAs defected to the BJP in the run-up to the elections, it has emerged as the main challenger for the Left. The election in Tripura is extremely crucial for the Left, which is one of its most powerful bastions, and the results will be likely a referendum on 20-year rule of Manik Sarkar. About 297 candidates, including 20 women, are in the fray for the elections to the 60-member assembly.
Sarkar, who is aiming for a record fifth term as CM, is credited with bringing insurgency down to a trickle in the state. Also, after nearly two decades, in 2015, Tripura withdrew the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act or AFSPA, applied primarily in the tribal areas. Meanwhile, the BJP reinforced its idea of ‘Chalo Paltai’ depending on star campaigners Amit Shah and PM Modi in the state.
The Congress, which has been marginalised in Tripura, was last in power between February 1988 and March 1993. This time, it contested from 59 seats and did not field a candidate for the Kakrabon constituency.
(With inputs from PTI)