BJP-IPFT combine set to end 25-year Left rule in Tripura

Agartala, Mar 3: The BJP-Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT) combine was leading in 40 seats and was set to end the 25-year uninterrupted rule of the CPI(M)-led Left Front in Tripura.

Election in 59 seats for the 60-member Assembly was held on February 18. Polling was countermanded in one seat due to the death of a CPI(M) candidate.

The BJP was leading in 32 seats with its ally IPFT ahead in 8 seats. The majority mark in the Assembly is 31.

BJP state president Biplab Kumar Deb was leading from Banamlipur seat.

The ruling CPI(M), which has been in power for the last 25 years, was ahead in 19 seats.

Chief Minister Manik Sarkar was leading over his nearest BJP rival Pratima Bhoumik by over 2,000 votes in Dhanpur constituency.

The Congress could not establish a lead in any of the constituencies.

The BJP strong showing came as a surprise for many as the party did not even have a councillor in Tripura. It had secured less than two per cent votes in the 2013 Assembly election in the state.

According to an EC source, the BJP contested in 51 seats in Tripura and secured over 42 per cent votes.

Its ally IPFT, which fielded candidates in 9 seats, got nearly 8 per cent votes.

On the other hand, the CPI(M)-led Left Front, which had captured 50 of the 60 seats in the 2013 Assembly poll, managed to secure nearly 44 per cent this time, the EC source said.

The Left Front had tasted defeat in 1988 Assembly polls at the hands of the Congress-Tripura Upajati Juba Samity combine.

BJP leader Ram Madhav said the party would come to power in Tripura, winning over 40 seats.

"We are satisfied with the trends available so far. We will wait for the final outcome. The people in the state have voted for a change. They have supported our slogan for change," he said, adding that the CPI(M)  gave a "spirited fight".