Since 1952, Communists won both the Tripura West and Tripura East Lok Sabha seats 11 times -- until the saffron party swept the general elections on Thursday
Agartala: Along with the rest of the country, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) swept the general elections for the two Lok Sabha constituencies in Tripura, the results of which were declared on Thursday.
While BJP’s Rebati Tripura won the Tripura East constituency, reserved for the scheduled tribes, against Maharaj Kumari Pragya DebBurman Pragya Debburman of the Congress by securing 4,82,126 votes, BJP’s Pratima Bhoumik bagged the Tripura West seat by securing 5,70,021 votes -- a vote share of 51.77%. Bhoumik beat sitting MP Sankar Prasad Datta of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). Congress' Subal Bhowmik registered 2,67,843 votes.
Although both Rebati Tripura and Pragya contested the Parliamentary elections for the first time, the BJP leader’s victory has taken pollsters by surprise since Pragya’s royal lineage was expected to have taken the edge over her rival.
As counting of votes progressed through the day, the emerging figures disturbed all predictions. BJP’s slogan, ‘Phir Ek Baar, Modi Sarkar’, started to fill the air as party candidates began to take the lead in both the constituencies.
Surprisingly, both the CPI(M) candidates -- Jitendra Chaudhury and Shankar Prasad Dutta, who were also sitting MPs in Tripura West and Tripura East Parliamentary constituencies, respectively -- came a distant third in the voters’ list. While Chaudhury registered 2,00,963 votes, Dutta managed to bag only 1,71,826.
The Tripura West Lok Sabha constituency has 13,47,377 voters, out of which 81.66% exercised their franchise on April 11. However, opposition CPI (M) and Congress had been alleging violence and poll vitiation in the seat and demanding fresh elections.
Subsequently, the Election Commission sent special election observer Vinod Zutshi to oversee demands of re-election and following his scrutiny, re-polls were held in 168 out of 1,679 polling stations in the constituency on May 12.
A total 82.46% of 12,61,861 voters exercised their franchise in the Tripura East parliamentary constituency on April 23. The seat, where polls were deferred from April 18 on security grounds, had sitting MP Chaudhury contesting against nine candidates this year, including Tripura ‘princess’ and Congress candidate Pragya Debburman
The main issues in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections for Tripura revolved around reviving Brand Narendra Modi and nationalism for BJP while Congress focused on Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, unemployment and NYAY. CPI (M), on the other hand, was seen to have mostly reduced to simply reacting against the BJP over communalism and attacks on democracy.
Communists have won both the Tripura West and Tripura East constituencies 11 times since 1952. While the last non-Left MPs from Tripura were Santosh Mohan Dev and ‘Rajmata’ Bibhu Kumari Devi in 1991 Lok Sabha, CPI (M) emerged victorious in the last six Parliament elections consecutively from the state.
Counting was held in 40 counting halls spread across 17 locations in the state on Thursday along with the rest of the country.