Triangular contest expected in Tripura elections: Here's all you need to know

The Congress and the CPM have been foes for decades in Tripura but the two buried the hatched to stop the BJP’s run. The CPM particularly still has a solid support base in the state.

Published: 15th February 2023 07:48 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th February 2023 07:49 PM   |  A+A-


People show voter cards as Border Security Force (BSF) personnel patrol at Indo-Bangladesh border ahead of the Tripura Assembly elections. (Photo | PTI)

By Express News Service

GUWAHATI: BJP-ruled Tripura will go to polls on Thursday amid the perception of a fractured mandate.

The state has 60 seats – 20 of them reserved for ST and 10 for SC communities. 

The BJP, which continued with its alliance with the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), will contest 55 seats and the latter in 5.

The Left parties and Congress struck a seat-sharing deal to stop the BJP juggernaut. The Left will contest 47 seats – 43 of them by the CPM – and the Congress in the remaining 13.

The tribal outfit TIPRA Motha will contest 42 seats and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) 28 seats.

A triangular contest is expected in 42 seats among BJP, TIPRA Motha and either Left or Congress. 

The BJP swept the 2018 elections and ended the 25-year-long Left rule by riding on the slogan of “Chalo Paltai” (let’s change). However, former Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb’s alleged autocratic style of functioning saw the BJP disintegrating slowly. Deb removed Sudip Roy Barman from the ministry and later, Barman and another MLA ditched the party.

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There was a period when Tripura was in the news for Deb’s bizarre statements, including offensive remarks against certain communities, than anything else. Sensing trouble ahead, the BJP’s central leadership sought to make amends by replacing Deb with Manik Saha in May last year but it was too late. This was evident from the resignations of four more BJP MLAs.

In fact, MLAs of the IPFT also lost hope in the ruling coalition. Three IPFT legislators quit the party and joined other parties.

In 2018, the BJP had to overcome the Left. This election, it faces a two-pronged challenge from the Congress-Left combine and the TIPRA Motha.

The Congress and the CPM have been foes for decades in Tripura but the two buried the hatched to stop the BJP’s run. The CPM particularly still has a solid support base in the state.

ALSO READ | 'Kushti' in Kerala, 'dosti' in Tripura: PM Modi attacks Cong-CPI(M) alliance

The TIPRA Motha, which rules the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council, holds sway in the 20 ST seats. Led by royal scion Pradyot Bikram Manikya Debbarma, it is expected to emerge as the kingmaker. The party is contesting 42 seats, including 22 in general areas, as it attempts to emerge as a pan-Tripura party. 

The general perception is that neither the Congress-Left combine nor the BJP can form the government without the TIPRA Motha’s support. Sources in the BJP claimed Debbarma can be “managed” but he has kept his cards close to his chest. He is going to the polls by renewing the tribals’ separate homeland demand. His alliance talks with the BJP failed as the Centre refused to make any commitment to the statehood demand.

At a BJP rally in Tripura last week, Union home minister Amit Shah claimed TIPRA Motha has a tacit understanding with the Congress-Left alliance. Similarly, the Congress sniffed that the BJP has a secret understanding with the TMC. The suspicion stemmed from the Mamata Banerjee-led party contesting 28 seats despite not having a visible support base. 

The BJP is confident that it will return to power by cashing in on the division of Opposition votes. 


  • Total seats 60
  • 2018 results – BJP 36, IPFT 8, CPM 16
  • 2023 polls: 259 candidates, including 31 women (BJP 55, CPM 43, TIPRA Motha 42, TMC 28, Congress 13, Independents 58)
  • 31,000 polling personnel, 3,327 polling stations in 2,504 locations
  • 28.14 lakh voters including 13.99 lakh women 
  • 30,000 CAPF personnel, 15,000 state forces’ personnel deployed for polls

Key candidates

  • BJP – Chief Minister Manik Saha, Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma, Union minister Pratima Bhoumik 
  • CPM – Jitendra Choudhury, Pabitra Kar 
  • Congress – Sudip Roy Barman, Birajit Sinha, Ashish Kumar Saha
  • TIPRA Motha – Subodh Debbarma, Brishaketu Debbarma
  • IPFT – Prem Kumar Reang



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