AGARTALA/UNAKOTI: The ruling BJP on Sunday registered a mega win in November 25 local body elections, sweeping all the 20 municipal bodies in Tripura and winning 329 seats overall out of the 334 seats.
Elections were held across 222 out of 334 seats in Tripura. BJP had already won 112 seats without contesting, as neither Trinamool Congress (TMC) nor Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) had fielded any candidates here.
The CPI-M ended up with three seats while the TMC and TIPRA Motha were restricted to one seat each.
These local elections and their results in Tripura were a litmus test for political strategist Prashant Kishor whose company I-PAC has taken up job of managing TMC before their grand test in the 2022 Goa state elections and 2023 Tripura state polls. I-PAC is behind the political strategy of TMC in both states.
The TMC had entered the fray amid a recent poaching spree by it when Congress leaders Kirti Azad, Ashok Tanwar and 12 Meghlaya MLAs led by former CM Mukul Sangma joined Mamata Banerjee’s camp.
The Tripura civic polls are a massive blow to an established party like TMC which was riding high on West Bengal win amid ambitions to make gains in Tripura.
“Tripura elections have put Goa battle tough for Trinamool Congress with Aam Aadmi Party and Congress both eyeing a vote share to dethrone the ruling BJP from the Konkan state,” said a senior TMC party worker.
Six nagar panchayats, seven municipal councils and Agartala Municipal Corporation went to the polls on November 25 that saw a voter turnout of 81.54 per cent.
Celebrations were underway even in Muslim-dominated areas as locals painted each other in colours of joy. The win also means a referendum for CM Biplab Dev personally as he had openly took on TMC, Congress, CPIM, accusing them of running a sinister plot on showing images of burning of mosques.
Several Muslims on Sunday were seen celebrating the BJP win, while accusing TMC and CPI-M of trying to cause trouble by showing visuals of burning mosques.
“BJP has won 16 out of 17 seats in Kailashahar of Unakoti. We Muslims know which party takes care of our welfare and which uses us for polarisation and appeasement gains. BJP is the only party we can count on,” said a local, Mansoor Ali, in Unakoti while participating in the victory procession in Kailashahar.
“We have three wards with dominant Muslim population. Despite being a Muslim, and like many other in my ward, I support BJP. Here, it’s not about religion. We vote for development and our future. We will not allow Trinamool or CPI-M to play with our future again. Bharat Mata ki Jai,” he said, making a point.
Shoppers, traders and businessmen on Sunday were seen in a festive mood in various parts of Tripura.
“It’s sad that people from outside tried to disrupt peace in the state. They showed fake images of mosques to incite people. Look at the electrifying mood here. Covid is under control and people are doing their business as usual, without any hassle,” said Sukanta Choudhary, a shopkeeper in Unakoti.
“I fought elections from Ward no 3, and here I am with both Hindus and Muslims, celebrating our victory for BJP,” said Roman Ali, who contested in Unakoti’s Kailashahar.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the party’s win.
The people of Tripura have given a clear message – that they prefer politics of good governance. I would like to thank them for the unequivocal support to @BJP4Tripura. These blessings give us greater strength to work for the welfare of each and every person in Tripura.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 28, 2021
In Agartala Municipal Corporation (AMC), the party got 58,221 votes while the Trinamool Congress (TMC) finished a distant second with 22,295 votes. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) finished third with 15,960 votes.