BJP clean sweeps Tripura municipal polls

NEW DELHI: Despite high-decibel campaigning by the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC), the ruling BJP made a clean sweep in the Tripura urban local bodies (ULBs) elections, the results of which were announced on Sunday.

Elections were held for 20 ULBs, including the Agartala Municipal Corporation, which comprises 51 wards, 13 municipal councils and six nagar panchayats.

Out of the 334 ULB seats, the BJP won 329 (98.5%) seats, the CPI(M) managed to secure 3, while the TMC and the Tipraha Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance (TIPRA) won 1 seat each.

The BJP won uncontested in 112 seats, spread over 4 municipal councils and two nagar panchayats. Elections were held in 222 seats on November 25.

The BJP fielded candidates in all 222 seats while the TMC contested in 120 seats, CPI(M) in 197, Congress in 92, CPI in 6, Revolutionary Socialist Party in 2, All India Forward Bloc in 3, others in 10, and independents in 21 seats.

After its landslide victory in the West Bengal assembly election held earlier this year, the TMC started spreading its wings in the country. It tried to expand its base in the Northeast, particularly in Tripura and Assam, besides Goa.

The TMC appeared to be posing a serious challenge to the BJP in the state. Tensions had risen after violent incidents took place in the run-up to the ULB elections.

The results have come as a dampener for the TMC. It is the first jolt to Banerjee after her party’s landslide victory in West Bengal. It is a setback for her prime ministerial ambitions and for TMC’s target to expand its footprints outside West Bengal.

The TMC will have to work harder to give a tough fight to the BJP in the Goa assembly election that are scheduled to be held in early 2022, and the 2023 Tripura assembly election.

The Tripura ULB election results come just a day ahead of the Winter Session of Parliament, which commences on Monday. A victory in the northeastern state would have given a boost to TMC’s morale in both houses of Parliament. A defeat is surely to dampen its spirit.

Contrary to what the TMC felt, the Left still remains stronger than it. The Left has still not ceded total space though the Congress stands decimated in the northeastern state. The TMC had run a strong campaign against the BJP not just on the ground but also on social media.

It had sought to discredit the Biplab Deb-led government on all parameters of governance. It had alleged that the “double engine government of the BJP” had failed to fulfil the promises made ahead of the 2018 assembly election.

The BJP’s victory, that too by an overwhelming majority, will work as a booster dose for the saffron party after the defeat in West Bengal in May this year.

The party may not need to worry much for the 2023 Tripura assembly election.The result also brings personal respite for CM Biplab Deb who was under intense attack not just by the opposition but also by detractors within his own party. His position is not just safe but it also has strengthened.

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