Agartala: The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party scripted on Friday by sweeping the by-polls of Boxanagar and Dhanpur with huge margins. Both seats, once the Left’s strongholds, witnessed embarrassing defeats for the Communist Party of India (Marxist). 

Unlike the general 2023 assembly elections, the by-elections will not impact the present government. But given the larger political regrouping taking place nationally, it was the first electoral battle between the INDIA alliance and BJP in the state.

The BJP asserted strength through poll performance and also got an opportunity to expand its footprints in the Muslim-majority areas of the state. Newly-elected MLA from Boxanagar Tofajjal Hossain ended the party’s wait for a strong face that could build a solid pitch for the party among the Muslims. Hossain emerged as the first Muslim MLA of Tripura to be elected on a BJP ticket.


Bindu Debnath, who won from the Dhanpur assembly constituency, reaffirmed BJP’s strength in the area that had elected former Chief Minister Manik Sarkar in successive elections till 2018.

The margin of victory for the BJP candidates makes a loud and clear statement on the voter’s political preferences and how the Left parties are gradually diminishing even in the state’s rural areas.

In Boxanagar, Tofajjal Hossain received 34,146 votes, beating his rival CPIM candidate Mizan Hossain with a decisive margin of 30,237 votes. It is also worth mentioning that nearly 90 per cent of the eligible voters cast their votes in the September 05 by-elections.

This constituency bears significance for the BJP because most voters are Muslims. The Lokniti CSDS analysis of the Tripura elections clearly stated that the Muslims in Tripura voted conclusively in favour of the CPIM-Congress combination in the 2023 assembly elections. But, the sudden demise of CPIM strongman Samsul Haque, who was elected from the seat in March, gave an opportunity to the BJP to alter the whole equation.

This victory will not only help the BJP shed the anti-Muslim tag labelled by the opposition parties but also strengthen the representation of Muslims in the party. In the absence of an MLA or a strong figure, a lot of issues fall on deaf ears. Hossain’s tenure as an MLA might act as a bridge between the Muslims and the BJP in Tripura.


Dhanpur was also a tough test for the BJP. Muslims and Tribal voters play a decisive role there. In the March elections, BJP candidate Pratima Bhoumik defeated her rival candidate Kaushik Chanda by a margin of around 3,000 votes. But, TIPRA Motha candidate Amiya Noatia got 8,000 votes in the tribal belt.

Back then, the CPI (M) accused TIPRA Motha of playing spoilsport. But this time, TIPRA did not field any candidates and CPIM state secretary Jitendra Choudhury time and again claimed that the principal opposition party was working with them on the ground. 

CPIM candidate Kaushik Chanda admitted that in several areas TIPRA Motha party activists became polling agents of the CPIM candidates.

The BJP candidate Bindu Debnath won with a margin of 18,000 votes, six times the margin of previous elections. 

Senior journalist Sekhar Dattam, who has covered many elections in Tripura, told EastMojo that Muslims voting for the BJP is a new political twist.

“It seems that Muslims have changed their mind towards BJP as they find the party is not unfriendly to them. The victory margin in minority-dominated Boxanagar is an eloquent testimony to this factor which will be proved to be crucial in the elections to come next. But, the result also shows that CPIM in the state is on the back foot, otherwise, the margin would not be so high,” he said.

The CPIM had already termed the elections a farce and boycotted the whole counting process. The party sought re-elections in both the seats, but the demand remained unaddressed.  

Shortly after the results were declared, CPIM state secretary Jitendra Choudhury said the results of the by-elections are a testament to the allegations raised by his party.

“The scale of rigging in the by-poll is beyond imagination. We have raised our apprehensions before the Election Commission of India, but no action was taken. Late Samsul Haque won the 2023 assembly elections with a margin of 5,000 votes from Boxanagar. After six months, the CPIM candidate got only 3,000 votes. It shows how polls had been vitiated through rigging, booth capturing and other electoral misconducts,” said Choudhury.

On Dhanpur, he said, “In as many as 19 polling stations, the CPIM could not give polling agents because of the intimidation and threats issued by the BJP workers.”

Tripura Pradesh Congress President Asish Kumar Saha said these results did not reflect the people’s voice. “If the elections are not fair, how can the results be taken seriously? The CPIM had demanded re-elections and later boycotted the counting alleging massive rigging on the day polls. The ruling party has adopted no-holds-barred tactics ever since the polls were declared. It was quite expected that the opposition candidate is set for a shock defeat,” Saha told EastMojo.

TIPRA Motha founder Pradyot Kishore Debbarman, who recently resigned from the party’s top position, launched a veiled attack on the CPIM for its poor show in the polls. Taking a jibe at the party, Debbarma claimed that CPIM failed to care for its workers who fought for the party on the ground.

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“We faced rigging during ADC election -I was personally attacked in Mohanpur but Tipra did not back down. Result we won. When I was the congress president in 2019 we were attacked -we did not back out and put polling agents – result from 1 percent our share went to 27%. Last year Sudip won the by-election despite many pressure, even TMC fought hard and got a respectable margin in the Agartala Municipal Election. So victory, fear and strength is in the mind, complaining won’t help, giving up till the last over is bowled shows how much u care about your workers and what has become to a party which ruled Tripura for 25 years,” Debbarman wrote on his social media handle.

Also Read | BJP wins bypolls in Dhanpur, Boxanagar assembly seats in Tripura

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