AGARTALA: The BJP retained power in Tripura for the second straight term by winning 32 seats, one more than the magic figure of 31 in the 60-member state assembly, for which elections were held on February 16.
According to the results declared by the Election Commission on Thursday, the tribal-based Tipra Motha Party (TMP), which for the first time contested 42 seats on its own, emerged as the second largest party securing 13 seats. The CPI-M won 11 seats while the Congress bagged three.
The CPI-M led Left Front, which contested the elections in a seat-sharing arrangement with the Congress, had fielded 47 candidates while 13 seats were allotted to the Congress.
BJP ally Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT) won the Jolaibari seat in southern Tripura. In the 2018 Assembly polls, the BJP had won 36 seats, its ally IPTF bagged eight seats while the CPI-M had secured 16 seats. However, the Trinamool Congress, which carried out a high-voltage campaign in Tripura in the run-up to the elections, failed to open its account in the state.
Most of the top BJP leaders, including Chief Minister Manik Saha, his cabinet colleague Ratan Lal Nath and Union minister Pratima Bhowmik, were re-elected from Town Bordowali, Mohanpur and Dhanpur, respectively. However, Deputy Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Jishnu Dev Varma lost in Charilam against TMP's Subodh Deb Barma by a narrow margin of 858 votes.
State BJP President and firts-time contestant Rajib Bhattacharjee lost in Banamalipur against former state Congress chief Gopal Chandra Roy by a margin of 1,369 votes. In the 2018 Assembly polls, former Chief Minister and BJP leader Biplab Kumar Deb had won from Banamalipur. State ministers Rampada Jamatia (Bagma), Sushanta Chowdhury (Majlishpur), Ratan Lal Nath (Mohanpur), Ram Prasad Paul (Surjyamaninagar), Assembly Speaker Ratan Chakraborty (Khayerpur), Deputy Speaker Biswa Bandhu Sen (Dharmanagar), veteran BJP leader Surajit Datta (Ramnagar) were also re-elected to the state Assembly.
However, BJP's two sitting MLAs -- Dilip Das (Barjala) and Krishnadhan Das (Bamutia) -- lost against CPI-M candidates. The CPI-M won 11 seats -- in Pratapgarh, Khowai, Kadamtala-Kurt, Sabroom, Sonamura, Bamutia, Hrishamukh, Jubarajnagar, Belonia, Boxanaga and Barjala. Important CPI-M candidates who won included are state Secretary Jitendra Chowdhury (Sabroom), Sudip Sarkar (Barjala), Dipankar Sen (Belonia and Shyamal Chakraborty (Sonamura).
Congress candidates Sudip Roy Barman, Gopal Chandra Roy and state Congress chief Birajit Sinha were re-elected from Agartala, Banamalipur and Kailashahar, respectively. Among the important TMP candidates who won were Chitta Ranjan Debbarma (Ambassa), Pathan Lal Jamatia (Ampinagar), Animesh Debbarma (Asharambari) and Paul Dangshu (Karamchara).
As many as 89.95 per cent of the 28.14 lakh voters exercised their franchise on February 16 to decide the fate of 259 candidates, including 31 women.
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