Last Updated: March 02, 2023, 16:29 IST
Tripura CM Manik Saha flashes the victory sign as he arrives to receive the ‘Certificate of Election’ after winning in the Tripura elections from the Town Bardowali constituency, on Thursday. (PTI Photo)
It proves that the win in 2018 in Tripura, a left citadel, was no fluke and the BJP is here to stay in the state… The BJP has made the 2023 Tripura election about the integrity of the state and will cite the win as one for its strong development model
There was an alliance between arch-rivals Congress and the Left, there was an upbeat challenger in Tipra Mohta, and BJP had to change its chief minister a year ago indicating some trouble in a state that the party won for the first time in 2018. But defeating all odds, the BJP has retained Tripura.
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Tripura is a small state with 60 assembly seats and two Lok Sabha seats but this victory will be as sweet for the BJP as the big one in Uttar Pradesh last year. It proves that the win in 2018 in Tripura, a left citadel, was no fluke and the BJP is here to stay in the state.
BJP was facing the challenge to retain power in Uttar Pradesh last year, after it had won the 2017 state assembly elections after a 14-year-long hiatus. The win in Tripura is as crucial as it deflates the theory of ‘opposition unity’ that is being cited as the flavour in the UPA in the run-up to 2024 battle.
BJP has traditionally struggled in state elections where the opposite united forces. It lost in Bihar in 2015 when arch-rivals JDU and RJD joined hands and lost in Jharkhand in 2019 when JMM and Congress contested in an alliance.
In West Bengal in 2022, where the Congress tacitly helped Mamata Bannerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC), the BJP had to bite the dust. Hence, the challenge in Tripura became formidable after arch-rivals Left and Congress joined hands and the Tipra Mohta was backed them.
That showed in the results with the BJP-led alliance tally dropping to 34 seats against 44 seats it had won in the 2018 election. But the primary reason for this did not seem the Congress-Left alliance. It was the Tipra Mohta, the tribal party fighting on the plank of a separate ‘Tipraland’ state, that has won close to a dozen seats for the first time. BJP had won 36 seats in the last elections and has managed to win 33 this time too. The performance of its ally, the IPFT, has, however, dipped.
The BJP would cite the Tripura victory as one for its strong development models and people rejecting the ‘unholy and opportunistic’ alliance of the Left-Congress — a development that does not bode well for the larger opposition unity success in the run-up to the 2024 election battle.
Congress could get just 3 seats in Tripura. Meanwhile, the BJP did not succumb to Tipra Mohta’s demands for a pre-poll alliance as the latter wanted a written guarantee for a separate state. The BJP had made the election about the integrity of the Tripura state.
The Tripura victory, albeit with smaller margin, will still be as sweet for BJP.
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