Often referred as the poorest CM of India, Manik Sarkar held the fort in Tripura for 20 years for the Communist Party of India – Marxist (CPM). The immensely popular CM previously won elections on his own merit rather than the popularity of the party. Finally, his unchallenged rule ended with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) securing 41 seats in the recent Northeast elections.
Undoubtedly the biggest news is the collapse of Manik Sarkar’s almost impenetrable fortress in Tripura. Since the counting began, BJP and CPM were in a neck-to-neck competition. However, BJP finally made its way into Tripura while pushing out left.
The Left has ruled Tripura for the past 25 years and Manik Sarkar, 69, was chief minister for 20 of them.
After the saffron party dethroned the Left rule in the state, Kerala is now the only state where the left font government is in power. This loss is certainly a big blow for the CPM.
The party surged ahead in Tripura establishing a lead with 39 seats out of 59 constituencies. The win was secured by BJP and its ally Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT). This is the first time that BJP will form a government in this state.
Besides the anti-incumbency sentiment, there were some other reasons for the party’s win.
The party has pitted the Manik Sarkar government against “Modi sarkar”. The BJP sent 42,000 workers and assigned one each for every 60 voters. PM Modi and his cabinet ministers had frequented the region to announce tailored policies for the people. BJP was able to consolidate all the anti-Left votes virtually appropriating the erstwhile main opposition, Congress.
As mentioned, BJP forged an alliance with Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT). The alliance with the tribal party certainly worked in the party’s favor.
The campaign slogan ‘Chalo Paltai’ or Let’s Change was based on issues of unemployment and corruption. It attacked the former government on these two sensitive issues. The results certainly show that selecting these issues has worked for BJP.
BJP already has its government in three Northeastern states. With this win, Tripura will join Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, and Manipur.