Good governance, able leadership helped Left win in Tripura

By Sujit Chakraborty ,

Agartala: Despite the Left parties’ devastating defeat in West Bengal, the CPI-M, a dominant partner of the Left Front, held on to its two Lok Sabha seats in Tripura, thanks to good governance and an able leadership in the state.

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The ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist candidates – Sankar Prasad Datta and Jitendra Choudhury – contested the parliamentary polls for the first time and won by bigger margins than their party predecessors.

Increasing its vote share in Tripura, the CPI-M secured 64 percent of the votes, about 2.30 percent higher than in the last elections. In contrast, the Congress got 15.2 percent votes, 15.55 percent less than in the last Lok Sabha polls.

The Trinamool Congress this time got 9.6 percent of the votes against 0.55 percent last time, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) managed 5.7 percent over 3.38 percent in the last elections.

The CPI-M nominee and the state’s Forest and Rural Development Minister Jitendra Choudhury defeated Sachitra Debbarma of the Congress in the tribal reserve East Tripura by a record margin of 484,358 votes.

In Tripura West, the CPI-M nominee and trade union leader Sankar Prasad Datta won by 503,486 votes against Congress candidate Arunoday Saha, a former vice chancellor of Tripura University, a central varsity.

“Good governance, pro-people steps and an able leadership has helped the Left Front in Tripura to secure positive performance in all polls during the past many years,” political analyst and former Congress legislator Tapas Dey said.

He said the opposition parties’ non-performance has led to their repeated humiliating defeat.

The Left Front got 50 seats in the 60-member Tripura assembly in the polls a year ago, while the Congress secured only 10 seats.

The CPI-M led Left Front got 53 percent votes while the remaining were shared by the Congress, BJP, the Trinamool and other smaller parties.

During the election campaign, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said there is no Modi wave in the country, referring to the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

But after the BJP’s thumping win in the Lok Sabha elections Friday, he said the BJP managed favourably the anti-incumbency factor against the Congress-led government at the centre.

“We (Left parties) have urged the people to reject the Congress this time. People have done this… ,” Sarkar told IANS.

“We believe the BJP government will act positively on the burning issues where the Congress failed to act,” he said.

“People in Tripura voted for us time and again due to our performance, honesty and pro-people governance,” he added.

With its victory in the Lok sabha polls, the Left parties have now won the Tripura East seat 11 times since 1952.

It has won West Tripura seat 12 times since the first Lok Sabha elections of 1952.

The CPI-M has been winning both the seats uninterruptedly since 1996.

The tribals, who constitute one-third of Tripura’s 3.7 million population, and those belonging to the Scheduled Castes (SC), constituting 16 percent of the total population, both played a vital role in Tripura politics.

“The Left has a substantial base both among the tribals and the SCs, besides the general Bengali and other sections of the society,” political analyst Akbar Ahmed told IANS.

“The main opposition Congress and other parties have very poor support base among the minorities in the state,” he said, adding the Left enjoys support of the Muslims as well, contributing to its continued winning track record in the state.

(Sujit Chakraborty can be reached at [email protected])