Left back in Tripura, fractured vote in Meghalaya

March 7th, 2008 - 4:18 pm ICT by admin  

(Second Lead)

Agartala/Shillong, March 7 (IANS) Tripura’s ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) led Left Front stormed back to power for a fourth straight term in Tripura Friday, while trends and results indicated a fractured mandate in Meghalaya. The CPI-M on its own had won 33 seats of the total 43 results declared so far in the 60-member assembly and was leading in nine more seats, while its ally Revolutionary Socialist Party won in two seats and was leading in two more.

Another Left Front partner, the Communist Party of India (CPI), had won in one seat and was leading in another. The opposition Congress managed to win in just four seats and was leading in six more, while its ally, the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura won just one seat.

Notable winners include Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar who won the Dhanpur seat by a margin of 2,918 votes.

“This is a great victory for the Left Front and shows the popularity and support the people have for us. Good governance is one of the key factors for the thumping victory,” said CPI-M spokesperson Gautam Das.

Tripura made electoral history when a record 92 percent of the 2.03 million voters exercised their franchise in the Feb 23 election.

In Meghalaya, trends and results indicate a fractured mandate with no party likely to get a clear majority to form the next government.

The ruling Congress won in 10 seats and was leading in five in the 60-member assembly, while the regional United Democratic Party (UDP) won five seats and was leading in six, according to latest information.

The other main player, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), won in five seats and was leading in one, while another regional party, the Hill State People’s Democratic Party, won two seats.

Meghalaya Chief Minister D.D. Lapang won the Nongpoh seat by a slender margin of 740 votes, while former Lok Sabha speaker Purno Agitok Sangma was leading from the Tura assembly seat.

In the last assembly, the Congress had 29 legislators and was backed by 14 other regional party lawmakers, including the UDP, in running the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government.

There was no pre-poll alliance this time between the Congress and the UDP.

The Congress party is likely to emerge as the single largest party, although the post-poll scenario is wide open - anything could happen from a possible Congress-UDP government to a Congress-NCP or NCP-UDP government.

Political instability is the hallmark in Meghalaya - the state saw six different governments with varied combinations of political parties in a span of five years between 1998 and the last assembly elections in 2003. There were four chief ministers during that period.

There were just two occasions when a chief minister was able to complete his full five-year term since Meghalaya attained statehood in 1972.

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