Three North Eastern States go to poll this month and the first one will be Tripura on the 18th of February. Left has been in power here for 25 years with Chief Minister Manik Sarkar leading it for the past 20. BJP leaders along with PM Modi have been rallying all across the state and have been stressing on the necessity of replacing Manik with Heera.
So Are we going to see a BJP wave Tripura? There are 5 Reasons why BJP is going to win big in Tripura:
1. Three Corner Elections
It is definitely a three-corner election contest this time. In 1988, there was a similar change in the electoral equations. A resurgent Congress party challenged the Communists who had been ruling Tripura for 10 years. Congress won the elections. But Congress is currently at its lowest performance phase, content with moral victories rather than actual wins. Even in Tripura, 1988 was the last time when Congress managed to form a government. This time BJP has donned the hat of the principal challenger in Tripura taking on the communists along with a down (but not out) Congress party.
2. Mood of the Left
One sixth of the candidates this time from the communist party are fresh faces, certainly a move to curb anti-incumbency. A left wing daily mentioned that the election in 1988 were rigged (Rigged Elections). Similar sentiments are now being echoed by many communist party leaders in their speeches. Certainly, a sign of fear. EVM tampering is being widely discussed, so we know what excuses will be hurled at the voters’ faces if the Left loses its eastern seat of power.
3. BJP’s Miraculous Turnaround in Tripura
The BJP campaign has been progressing smoothly in the state. In 2013, BJP lost deposits in almost all the 50 seats they contested in the state. They in fact got votes in the range of 200 to 500. However, in the 2 bypolls that took place in Tripura in 2016, BJP registered over 10,000 votes. In a matter of just 3 years and under the new Modi-Shah leadership, BJP has completely turned the tables in Tripura. Trying to cash in the opportunity, two leading CPI(M) leaders joined BJP (Left To Right). Seasoned leaders almost always read the writing on the wall. Certainly, the letters aren’t in big bold red colour.
A good question to ask would be – if anti-incumbency didn’t work in the past 20 years, how will it work now? There is an answer to it. And the answer is that there was hardly any opposition in the state. The Left Government remained largely unbridled and unquestioned. People of Tripura stuck with the status quo due to the absence of an alternative. That’s where BJP has focused its campaign. BJP has presented the party as a ray of hope and an alternative to the 20-long year rule of the Left. PM Modi has been the only PM to have taken North East so seriously. The government’s north east friendly policies are a big hit.
5. Yogi Adityanath
Another interesting point is that UP CM Yogi Adityanath is campaigning in Tripura. Tripura has a population that comprises of 30% OBCs who happen to be the followers of Naths and other sects. There are a whopping 18 Gorakhnath Temples in Tripura. This will have a major impact on the results.
There is one last quick point to be made. North East was traditionally the bastion of the Congress party. They lost Manipur and then Arunachal Pradesh. They went on to lose Assam. They are losing Nagaland even before contesting elections as they don’t even have enough candidates. Meghalaya looks no different. So here is a part of the country both ruled and overlooked by the Congress beginning to find its voice.