GUWAHATI: The BJP in alliance with IPFT trounce the Left-Congress combine to retain power in Tripura. In the 60-member assembly, the BJP won 32 seats Tipra Motha bagged 13 seats, while the Left-Congress alliance secured 14. The BJP, however, fell short of the 35 seats it had bagged in 2018. The Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) won only one seat.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) contested in 47 seats but won only 11, while its partner Congress got three seats. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah made all the right noises, while Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, the “Chanakya of Northeast”, kept his ears to the ground.
Shah had left it to the electorate to decide if they would like to swim alongside the Congress-Left combine or BJP.
Tipra Motha put up a good performance winning 13 seats. Tripura’s nearly 70% of voters are Bengalis. On the rise of TIPRA Motha in tribal areas, a more nuanced messaging was resorted to by the BJP so that the dominant Bengali votes could be consolidated. The Assam CM had allayed the fear of Bengalis by rejecting TIPRA Motha’s ‘Greater Tipraland’ statehood demand. This is believed to have led to consolidation of Bengali votes in BJP’s favour.
Some other factors, which seemed to have worked for BJP, are its pro-poor initiatives. Over the past five years, over 1.6 lakh poor families got PMAY houses. Also, their monthly social allowance was increased from Rs 700 to Rs 1,000 soon after BJP captured power in 2018 and then, it was further increased to Rs 2,000 in September last year. The government kept its employees in good humour by announcing a 12% hike in dearness allowance in December last year. It maintained law and order well.
How Sarma strategised
The Assam CM had allayed the fear of Bengalis by rejecting Tipra Motha’s ‘Greater Tipraland’ demand. This is believed to have consolidated Bengali votes in BJP’s favour