Guwahati: The ruling BJP in Tripura swept the civic body polls in the results declared Sunday, winning 329 out of 334 seats across several municipal bodies in the state. The BJP won 112 uncontested seats earlier, and 217 of the 222 that went to the polls last week, including all 51 in capital Agartala’s municipal corporation.
The Trinamool Congress, which had thrown its hat in the ring with an aim to expand beyond West Bengal, only managed to win one seat, in the Ambassa Nagar Panchayat, despite contesting 119.
In the weeks leading up to the civic body polls, the fight between the BJP and the TMC became heated, with both sides accusing the other of causing violence.
But Mamata Banerjee’s party put a positive spin on the results, calling itself the “principal opposition” now in the state.
Trinamool Congress MP and general secretary Abhishek Banerjee, its Tripura in-charge, congratulated workers for helping the party emerge as the “principal opposition”.
This is despite the fact that we commenced our activities barely 3 months ago and @BJP4Tripura left no stone unturned to BUTCHER DEMOCRACY in Tripura.
Congratulations to all the brave soldiers of @AITC4Tripura for their exemplary courage.
সবে তো শুরু এবার আসল খেলা হবে। (2/2)
— Abhishek Banerjee (@abhishekaitc) November 28, 2021
Speaking to ThePrint, Trinamool MP Sushmita Dev echoed Abhishek Banerjee’s words, but also accused the BJP of “rigging” the elections.
“Given the extent of rigging and lawlessness, we have still emerged as the principal Opposition, our vote share is 20.66 per cent. And the vote share of the CPI(M) is 18.47 per cent and that of the BJP is 56.88 per cent,” she said. “I am confident that in the assembly elections, the BJP will be defeated.”
The BJP, meanwhile, pitched the result as a vote of confidence in the party, which has been in power in the state since 2018, when it defeat the 25-year Left Front regime. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Biplab Deb tweeted about the party’s success.
The people of Tripura have given a clear message – that they prefer politics of good governance. I would like to thank them for the unequivocal support to @BJP4Tripura. These blessings give us greater strength to work for the welfare of each and every person in Tripura.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 28, 2021
Thank you very much Hon PM Shri @narendramodi Ji for your affection for Tripura.
Today's referendum reflects people's trust in your good governance.I assure you,we will work hard to ensure that your affection & developmental policies reach to every single individual of the state. https://t.co/4DM22DUdUp
— Biplab Kumar Deb (@BjpBiplab) November 28, 2021
Meanwhile, Tripura BJP spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharyya, in response to Sushmita Dev’s remarks, said “there is no harm in dreaming”.
“They can do as they please. We will keep up our fight. The people of Tripura have taken this resolve. They do not want the CPI(M). This played to the TMC’s advantage,” he said.
The next assembly elections in the state are due in 2023.
CPI(M), TIPRA Motha also allege rigging
The CPI(M) only managed to win three seats — in the Kailashahar and Ambassa municipal councils, and the Panisagar Nagar panchayat. It had contested 215 seats.
Senior CPI(M) leader Pabitra Kar also claimed the elections had been rigged and “in places, people had been stopped from voting”.
“You can’t say that this is what people want. The BJP has won this through force,” he added.
Meanwhile, the tribal-focused TIPRA Motha of erstwhile royal Pradyot Debbarma won one seat, in Ambassa, out of the five it contested.
“It’s historic that for the first time in the history of Tripura, a regional party has won a seat in the urban poll. It gives us confidence. Even in the 3-4 other seats, we lost narrowly,” Debbarma told ThePrint.
“Despite all the rigging the BJP did, the people of Tripura have spoken and have rejected the Communists, and they are looking for an alternative,” he added.
(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)