Tripura Polls: BJP Hopes For More As CPM Tries To Claw Back: 10 Points

    Counting of votes for the Tripura election will be held on March 2.

    New Delhi:
    Tripura goes to polls today in a triangular contest where the ruling BJP is hoping to win big. On the other side, the CPM has unexpectedly joined hands with the Congress. In case of a hung house, new party Tipra Motha holds all the cards.

    Here’s your 10-point cheatsheet to this big story:

    1. For more than 30 years, Tripura was ruled by the CPM, till the upset in 2018, when the BJP scripted history, winning 36 of the 60 seats in a state where it practically had no presence.

    2. Though the score pushed the BJP well above the majority mark of 31, it still formed alliance with regional IPFT (Indigenous Progressive Front of Tripura) – which got eight seats — as insurance against any defection by its MLAs.

    3. The CPM, which ruled Tripura for 35 years, has joined forces with the Congress, and its campaign is being led by its four-time Chief Minister Manik Sarkar. The Left Front will contest 47 of the state’s 60 seats, leaving just 13 seats for the Congress.

    4. While the CPM won 16 seats in 2018, the Congress – main opposition in the previous assembly — drew a blank. The CPM is hoping that their alliance will help add votes in around 13 seats. But the alliance has raised eyebrows among the Kerala units of both parties where they have been sworn enemies for decades.

    5. The Tipra Motha – the new party formed by former royal Pradyot Kishore Debbarma with a core demand of Greater Tipraland — might queer the pitch for the BJP. While the BJP has the local party IPFT in its corner, its hold on some seats have loosened over the last five years. In 2021, IPFT was wiped out in the Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council polls and had to accept only five seats to contest in this election.

    6. The BJP had initially attempted to build a rapport with the Tipra Motha, but its overtures were met with rebuff. After the BJP declared that it would not allow any division of Tripura, the Tipra Motha also hardened its stand, flinging Union minister Amit Shah’s allegation of its being the “B Team of CPM-Congress” back at the BJP.

    7. “The BJP is a B-Team in Nagaland. In Meghalaya, Shillong and Garo Hills, they are a B-Team of some other party. You’re a B-Team of another party in Mizoram. In Tamil Nadu, you are the B-Team of the AIADMK. In Punjab, you are the B-Team of the Akali Dal. BJP is the B-team of many parties in India. Tipra Motha does not bow down or compromise,” said Mr Debbarma, whose party is contesting on 42 seats.

    8. Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, the BJP’s pointsperson in the northeast, has predicted a hugely improved performance by the party in all three northeastern states that are going to polls in this round.

    9. “In Meghalaya, the BJP will emerge as a more important political power. In Tripura, we will retain power by a bigger majority and in Nagaland, we will again form government with the NDPP,” Mr Sarma has told NDTV in an exclusive interview. Tripura Chief Minister Manik Saha has predicted a “tsunami” in favour of the BJP.

    10. Elections are due in Meghalaya and Nagaland on February 27. Counting of votes will be held on March 2.

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