Agartala, Mar 8: The CPI(M)-led Left Front romped back to power in Tripura for the fourth consecutive term with a whopping majority of 49 seats in the 60-member Assembly election.
This year's win was just a repetition of the 1993 election results after a five-year Congress-TUJS rule. The election to the Assembly was held on February 23 and the counting was taken up yesterday.
In 1977, the Left Front had secured the highest number of seats, which stood at 54. The Congress had no member in the Assembly while the Opposition comprised only four TUJS MLAs. In 1993, the Left Front had got 49 seats and in 1998, the figure plummeted to 43. However, after a decade, the Left Front was able to capture a dominant position in the Assembly.
Most of the senior Congress members and ally INPT candidates, including top leaders fell by the way side, as CPI(M)-led Left Front, sans Forward Bloc, geared up to form the sixth Marxist government in Tripura with Mr Manik Sarkar at the helm of affairs once again for the third time.
The poll fiasco left the Congress and the INPT wondering as top guns like Tripura Pradesh Congress Committee President Samir Ranjan Barman, INTUC President Dipak Roy, senior Congress leaders such as Prakash Das, legend queen of Tripura Bibhu Kumari Devi, Jyotirmoy Nath, INPT general secretary Rabindra Debbarma, senior leader Nagendra Jamatia, Shyamacharan Tripura, all MLAs in the last Assembly, were left biting the dust.
However, president and former militant leader Bijoy Hrangkhawl managed to retain his seat.
The Forward Bloc, which severed its ties with the Left Front on the seat-sharing issue and contested in 12 constituencies, failed to make much difference.
While most of the senior CPI(M) leaders and MLAs returned to the House with a thumping vote margin, prominent among them, who lost the battle, included Handloom Minister Bijoy Laxmi Sinha, who faced defeat before young Congress candidate Manoj Deb in Kamalpur seat and Deputy Speaker Subal Rudra, who lost to yet another Congress man Turk Subal Bhowmik.
Mr Deb sprang the surprise as it was for the first time since 1972 that the CPI(M) suffered loss in Kamalpur.
Chief Minister Manik Sarkar returned from Dhanpur Constituency beating his Congress contender Shah Alam by 2918 votes, while Opposition leader Ratan Lal Nath won from his home constituency Mohanpur beating CPI(M)'s Subhash Debnath, a former Tripura Civil Service officer.
The highest vote margin of 8307 was recorded from Sabroom constituency in South Tripura, where CPI(M)'s Rita Kar (Majumdar) beat her close rival Congress ally PDS nominee Bivas Basak, while the lowest margin was at Kulai in Dhalai district where Mr Bijoy Hrangkhawl won by 115 votes.
In the stunning 93 per cent cast (including postal ballots) in the 60-member Assembly polling on February 30, Opposition Congress got ten seats and its ally one.
In the last Assembly election, the Left Front had secured 41 while the Opposition, Congress and the INPT bagged 19, 13 and six respectively.