Updated: March 3, 2018 1:21:13 pm
The Agartala town erupted in celebrations even as the third round of counting of votes was underway with the BJP leading in 35 seats in the 60-member Tripura Assembly. The CPI-M is ahead in 24 seats. A total of 31 seats is required to form the government in the state.
Cries of ‘Jai Siyaram’ and ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ filled the air at the BJP office where national general secretary Ram Madhav declared that his party will form the next government in Tripura. The state has been a Red bastion for 25 years.
The hotly contested election is veering towards a clear win for the BJP with unusually high vote margins. Previous battles in the state between the CPM and the Congress have seen victories with thin margins. In the 2013 elections, as many as seven assembly seats saw a margin of as less as 300 votes. In this election, significantly, the BJP is leading with decisive margins, like in Mohanpur assembly constituency, the BJP has so far bagged 13,755 votes while Left has 12,429 votes in its kitty. READ HERE FOR LIVE UPDATES
What has turned the tide in the BJP’s favour is the tribal vote bank – which has been the lifeline of the Left regime in Tripura for 25 years. Only once, in 1988, did the Congress-TUJS alliance break into the 20 reserved tribal seats; the tribal vote reverted to the CPM in 1993.
Indicating the extent of BJP’s inroads, the tribal seat of Asharambari has for the time not gone for the CPM. Even in the election that the CPM lost in 1988, Asharambari gave the party its biggest win ever, with a margin of 14,000 votes. This time, Asharambari has given a decisive victory to IPFT general secretary Mewat Jamatia with a massive margin of 7,000 votes.
BJP leaders have been maintaining that it is the tribal votes that will decide the outcome of this fight of ideologies.
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