Riding the crest of a Modi wave, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday demolished the communist citadel of Tripura, winning a two-third majority with ally Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT) and ending 25 years of uninterrupted rule of the CPI(M)-led Left Front.
The saffron party, which did not have even a single councillor in all of Tripura, had secured less than two per cent votes in the 2013 polls.
Pulling of a historic victory, the BJP-IPFT combined won 43 out of 59 Tripura constituencies. The BJP on its own won 35 seats, four more than the half-way mark, while its ally IPFT won eight seats. In a remarkable performance, the alliance swept all the 20 seats reserved for tribals.
Tripura Pradesh BJP President Biplab Kumar Deb, who won from Banamalipur, is tipped to be the Chief Ministerial choice.
भाजपा एक ऐसा दल है जिसका अध्यक्ष एक के बाद एक विजय प्राप्त करते हुए आगे बढ़ रहा है वर्ना देश में ऐसे भी दल हैं जहां लोग पद में तो ऊपर चढ़ते जाते हैं लेकिन कद में छोटे होते जाते हैं, कांग्रेस का कद कभी इतना छोटा नहीं था जितना आज है : प्रधानमंत्री श्री नरेन्द्र मोदी pic.twitter.com/uIJbj3992Q— BJP (@BJP4India) March 3, 2018
The CPI-M which headed the ruling Left Front was reduced to just 15 seats -- down from 50 in the last elections. None of its partners, including the CPI, Forward Bloc and Revolutionary Socialist Party, could open their account.
Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, who has been heading the Left Front government for the last 20 years, won Dhanpur seat by 5,441 votes, defeating his nearest rival Pratima Bhowmik of BJP. He bags 22,176 votes.
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The Congress, which had 10 members in the outgoing assembly, drew a blank this time.
Polling in Charilam (Reserved-Tribal) was deferred to March 12 after CPI-M candidate Ramendra Narayan Debbarma died a week before the February 18 polls. Votes for this will be counted on March 15.
In Nagaland, though the BJP-NDPP alliance failed to secure a majority with the state throwing up a hung Assembly, the party's participation in the future government looks certain. The BJP, which won 11 seats, said that it will form the next government with its ally Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) which captured 16 constituencies.
The JD(U), which shares power with the BJP in Bihar, has already announced that it will support the BJP. An Independent candidate, Tongpang Ozukum, also submitted a letter of support to the BJP. The National People's Party, an ally of the BJP at the Centre and in Manipur, won two seats.
The ruling Naga Peoples Front (NPF) emerged as the single largest party with 27 seats in 60-chair House. The magic figure in Nagaland is 31.
Interestingly, the BJP has two ministers in the NPF government which invited the saffron party to form next government. The party had stitched a pre-poll alliance with the National Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP).
Watch: Amit Shah addresses media at BJP HQ in Delhi
The voting was held in 59 of the total 60 constituencies as three-time Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio of the NDPP was declared elected unopposed from Northern Angami-II constituency.
Meghalaya, once a Congress bastion, appeared headed for a non-Congress government. Emerging as the single largest party, the ruling Congress won 21 seats -- down from 29 seats it had won in 2013 -- in the 60-member Assembly.
The National People's Party (NPP), a possible BJP ally, won 19 seats. The BJP got two. With power at the Centre, the BJP can cobble a post-poll coalition to form a government by roping in smaller parties with the NPP at the head. The smaller winning parties include PDF (4), UDP (6) and HSPDP (2). The KHNAM and NCP have won one seat each and independents three.
In Delhi, the BJP Parliamentary Board met and expressed confidence that the party would form governments in Nagaland and Meghalaya also, claiming it has got absolute majority with allies in the two states that have thrown up fractured verdicts.
Riding on Saturday's electoral victory, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party President Amit Shah told BJP workers that their goal now should be to capture power in Karnataka, Kerala, West Bengal and Odisha.
Briefing reporters after the BJP Parliamentary Board meeting, Union Health Minister JP Nadda said Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari and Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram will go to Agartala to oversee the election of legislature party leader in the state.
The party also decided to depute Nadda and General Secretary Arun Singh to Kohima and Union Ministers Kiren Rijiju and KJ Alphons to Shillong to hold talks with regional parties and try and form governments in the two states.
Watch: PM Modi addresses BJP workers at party HQ in Delhi