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With oppn votes split between TIPRA & Left-Congress, BJP wins 6 of 20 tribal seats in Tripura

Several tribal seats which were once Left strongholds go with BJP as Motha makes huge inroads. In several seats, Motha candidates come second with votes cut by Left-Congress alliance.

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New Delhi: The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (BJP-IPFT) combine secured a second term in Tripura Thursday, winning 32 seats in the 60-member assembly. The Motha bagged 13; the Left, 11; and the Congress got three.

The victory comes on the back of the BJP winning not just on the seats where the majority of voters are Bengali, but also on seats reserved for tribal candidates where pre-poll conjectures suggested it would be either the Left-Congress alliance or the Motha that would romp home. The BJP’s vote share in the state stood at 37.97 per cent, the CPI(M)’s at 24.62 per cent, the Congress’s at 8.56 per cent and that of the Motha and others’s at 22.12 per cent.

The BJP won six of the 20 tribal-dominated seats while one went to ally IPFT.

In effect, in seats such as Bagma, Krishnapur and Chawmanu, as the Left-Congress alliance and the Motha shared the opposition votes, sometimes in equal proportion, the BJP emerged as the winner.

In Bagma, BJP’s Ram Pada Jamatia won by 2,083 votes with the Motha emerging as the runner-up, while CPM’s Naresh Chandra Jamatia came third.

In Krishnapur, BJP’s Bikash Debbarma defeated Motha’s Mahendra Debbarma by 2,638 votes. CPM candidate Swasti Debbarma came third with 8,679 votes.

In Manu, another reserved constituency, the winning margin of BJP’s Mailafru Mog over CPM’s Pravat Chowdhury was just 547 votes. Motha candidate Dhananjoy Tripura polled 13,650 votes and came third.

In Pecharthal reserved seat, BJP’s Santana Chakma won by around 8,000 votes. Motha candidate Hollywood Chakma came third after CPM’s Sadhan Chakma polled 9,808 votes.

For years, the 20 tribal seats in Tripura had been Left strongholds. However, in 2018, the BJP-IPFT combine won 18 of these 20 seats.

This time, the results show that even with the IPFT winning on just one seat, and the mantle of the “tribal party” now firmly on the shoulders of Pradyot Debbarman-led TIPRA Motha, the BJP has managed to hold its own on many seats, thanks to the fractures in the opposition camp.

“The opposition’s inability to come together has once again come to the BJP’s rescue,” a Left-leaning intellectual told ThePrint.

“For years, the tribal seats had gone with the Left Front — in fact, at one point, it was said ‘the Left Front starts counting from 21’, so sure were they of winning these seats. (But) loyalties are now divided with the Motha and the biggest gainer has been the BJP. That is why the Left-Congress alliance had tried very hard till the last minute to forge a coalition with the Motha.”

The closely-fought elections have already started to reflect in the violence on the streets of Tripura, with BJP and Motha supporters clashing in Santirbazar, another reserved constituency where BJP’s Pramod Reang handed a 4,094-vote defeat to the Motha’s Harendra Reang. Satyajit Reang of the CPM came third.

However, in Charilam, where the BJP candidate was deputy CM Jishnu Deb Varma, the ruling party lost to the Motha’s Subodh Deb Barma by an 858-vote margin.

(Edited by Nida Fatima Siddiqui)

Also Read: Manifesto focusses on tribals’ development, but Bengalis know we are for all: Tripura BJP chief

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