Left Front pulls off emphatic win in Tripura

March 7th, 2008 - 5:18 pm ICT by admin  

Agartala, March 7 (IANS) The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left Front pulled off an emphatic victory for a fourth consecutive term, winning 49 seats in the 60-member legislature and routing the main opposition Congress. “This is a verdict in favour of development, peace and stability besides good governance and also the support that the people have given us during our last 25 years for taking up development works by curbing militancy in the northeastern state,” Chief Minister Manik Sarkar told IANS.

Sarkar, who retained his Dhanpur seat in west Tripura, was the only political leader to be chief minister for a record third term in Tripura, a state traditionally known as a Marxist bastion. The 59-year-old CPI-M politburo member will stay the ninth chief minister of Tripura.

The ruling Left Front wrested nine seats from the Congress and its ally - the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) - while the Congress wrested four seats from the Left Front.

The Congress, which emerged as the main challenger to the ruling left parties, received a drubbing, winning only 10 seats.

INPT is the main loser in the Feb 23 election, winning only the Kulai seat in Dhalai district. The seat was retained by INPT president and former militant leader Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawl.

Of the 60 seats, CPI-M, dominant partner of the Left Front, won 46 while its ally Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) bagged two and the Communist Party of India (CPI) retained its lone seat of Santir Bazar in south Tripura.

In the last assembly election in 2003, the Left Front won in 41 seats followed by the Congress with 13 and its ally INPT with six.

Besides Sarkar, the other notable Left Front winners are Finance Minister Badal Chowdhury, Tribal Welfare Minister Jitendra Chowdhury, Health Minister Tapan Chakraborty and Information Minister Anil Sarkar, who was elected to the state assembly for a record eighth time.

Handloom and Handicrafts Minister Bijoy Laxmi Sinha and Deputy Speaker Subal Rudra are among the major losers from the ruling party.

Significantly, the opposition Congress won all the four seats in state capital Agartala, traditionally a Congress stronghold.

In a major upset, Tripura Pradesh Congress president and former chief minister Samir Ranjan Burman lost his Bishalgarh seat in west Tripura to CPI-M nominee Bhanulal Saha.

Another former chief minister Sudhir Ranjan Majumder (Bordowali), former minister Birajit Sinha, opposition leader Ratan Lal Nath, former minister Surajit Datta are among the notable winners of the main opposition party.

In a major setback, INPT general secretary and former minister Rabindra Debbarma and veteran leader Nagendra Jamatia failed to retain their seats - Raima valley and Ampi in south Tripura, which were wrested by CPI-M candidates.

“The priority of our government would now be to take the development process ahead and make rapid strides in sectors like infrastructure, communication, agriculture and other allied fields,” the chief minister said.

The Left Front, which has been in power since 1978, barring one term (1988-1993), had a minor jolt before the poll with ally Forward Bloc for the first time fielding its own candidates in 12 constituencies. However, it could not cut into the vote share of other left parties.

A total of 313 candidates, including 31 women and 64 independents, were in the fray in Tripura, which made electoral history when a record 92 percent of the 2.03 million voters exercised their franchise in the Feb 23 election to the 60-seat assembly.

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