ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Nuances of the Left Debacle in Tripura

The electoral and political debacle of the left in Tripura is a culmination of long-term social churning. Discontent among the tribal population as well as the divide between tribal and Bengali communities were effectively utilised by the Bharatiya Janata Party, which has led to precipitous erosion of the base of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

The loss in the hitherto stronghold of Tripura added to the colossal defeat of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)—CPI(M)—in the general elections in 2019. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) captured both seats—West Tripura and East Tripura—from the CPI(M) in the state. It is noteworthy that since 1996, the CPI(M) has been winning consecutively from both these seats. West Tripura and East Tripura witnessed a multi-cornered contest between the Congress, BJP, CPI(M) and the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT). The BJP captured both the constituencies from the CPI(M). The IPFT, an ally of the BJP in the 2018 assembly election, pulled out of the BJP government over its difference over the BJP candidacy in East Tripura. It also raised protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) and renewed its long-standing demand for a separate tribal state within Tripura. With its alliance with the BJP, it won eight seats out of the nine it contested in the assembly election, and the party was instrumental in dislodging the left government. However, close to the 2019 elections, many leaders of the IPFT shifted to the Congress. In West Tripura, the CPI(M) won the seat 12 times since the first Lok Sabha election in 1952, while the Congress won four times. The Congress for Democracy, a breakaway faction of the party, secured the seat in 1977. In 2014, the CPI(M) candidate Sankar Prasad Datta had won by a huge margin. In West Tripura constituency, the BJP’s Pratima Bhowmik defeated Congress candidate Subal Bhowmik. In East Tripura, the BJP’s Rebati Tripura defeated the Congress’s Pragya Debburman. In the state as a whole, the BJP emerged as the dominant force, bagging 49.03% votes as against the Congress (25.34%), while the CPI(M) and the IPFT got 17.31% and 4.16%, respectively. The BJP with its government in the state could shrink the mass base of the CPI(M), as its vote share plummeted to 17.31% against 64.77% in the 2014 general elections. The Congress is emerging as a major player in the state politics and its vote share has gone up to 25.34% from 1.7%. It emerged as the runner-up in both the seats. Although the CPI(M) has 16 members of the legislative assembly, it could not emerge from the colossal defeat in the assembly election in 2018. It has been pushed to the third position in both the constituencies.

Halting the Communist Rule

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Updated On : 22nd Oct, 2019

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