CPI-M wrests one seat, retains another in Tripura

Agartala, Nov 22 (IANS) The ruling Left Front led by the CPI-M on Tuesday wrested one assembly seat from the Congress and retained another in Tripura, increasing its tally in the 60-member assembly to 51.

According to election officials, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) snatched the Scheduled Caste reserved Barjala seat and retained Khowai seat, defeating the nearest rivals, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Trinamool Congress (TMC), respectively.

In Barjala, CPI-M youth leader Jhumu Sarkar defeated BJP’s Shista Mohan Das, a former bureaucrat, by 3,374 Votes. Sarkar got 15,769 votes.

In Khowai, CPI-M’s Biswajit Datta trounced TMC’s Manoj Das, a former Left leader, by 16,094 votes. Datta bagged 24,810 votes.

Candidates of the Congress, the erstwhile main opposition party in Tripura, came fourth in both places.

The Barjala seat fell vacant after Congress legislator Jitendra Sarkar resigned on June 6 following an internal feud within the party while the Khowai seat has been vacant since the death of veteran CPI-M legislator Samir Deb Sarkar.

Five candidates each contested from the two constituencies. The election was held on Saturday and over 91 per cent of the 78,400 electorate voted.

Congress candidate Rajendra Kumar Das got only 1,063 votes in Barjala and his party colleague Pranab Biswas secured 696 votes in Khowai.

In the 2013 assembly elections, CPI-M candidate Samir Deb Sarkar won from Khowai by 8,833 votes while Congress nominee Jitendra Sarkar was elected from Barjala, defeating the CPI-M by 261 votes.

The CPI-M, the dominant partner in the Left Front, secured the Khowai assembly seat five consecutive times while the Left has intermittently won from Barjala seat several times.

Political analyst Sanjib Deb said the election results showed that the BJP was emerging as an emerging political force in Tripura.

“And due to a split in the Congress, the TMC has also become a significant force,” Deb told IANS.

A large numbr of leaders and party workers led by six legislators of the Congress in Tripura joined the TMC in June, reducing the Congress strength in the Tripura assembly to three from 10.