Tripura civic polls: BJP wins 217 of 222 seats, Trinamool demands elections be declared invalid
The BJP won all the seats in 11 of the 14 urban local bodies where elections were held.
The Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday won 217 of the 222 civic body seats that went to polls in Tripura, data from the state Election Commission showed. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) won three seats and the Trinamool Congress and an Independent candidate secured one each.
Elections had been announced in the state for 334 seats in 20 urban local bodies. Of these, the BJP had won 112 seats unopposed earlier in November. Voting for the remaining seats was held on Thursday. The election witnessed a turnout of 81.52%.
In Sunday’s counting, the BJP won all 51 wards of the Agartala Municipal Corporation. The party also bagged all the seats in 11 of the 14 urban local bodies where elections were held. Other parties managed to win in Panisagar, Kumarghat and Ambassa.
The Trinamool Congress has demanded that the elections be declared invalid, alleging it was “heavily rigged and reduced to a farce” by the BJP, reported NDTV. The CPI(M) has also demanded declaring polling in five wards of the Agartala Municipal Corporation be declared invalid.
However, Trinamool Congress General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee claimed that his party had emerged to be the main Opposition party in the state. He said it was “exceptional” that the Trinamool Congress had bagged more than 20% of the vote share.
“This is despite the fact that we commenced our activities barely 3 months ago and Tripura BJP left no stone unturned to butcher democracy in Tripura,” Banerjee wrote on Twitter. “Congratulations to all the brave soldiers of Trinamool Congress for their exemplary courage.”
He added: “It’s just the beginning, the real game will start now.”
Meanwhile, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb described BJP’s win in Agartala Municipal Corporation as remarkable. “People of Agartala have shown abundant confidence in the double engine government led by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji,” he tweeted.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the results showed that people of Tripura preferred the politics of good governance.
“I would like to thank them for the unequivocal support to Tripura BJP,” Modi said in a tweet. “These blessings give us greater strength to work for the welfare of each and every person in Tripura.”
Earlier in the day, the CPI (M) said it will boycott counting of votes, alleging rigging, EastMojo reported. Party’s state Secretary Jitendra Chaudhury alleged that the State Election Commission had “completely surrendered before the ruling BJP”.
Meanwhile, the BJP in a statement said that it has had detailed discussion with the workers on the possible scenario in the aftermath of counting of votes.
“Party workers should maintain control at par with organizational tradition after announcement of results,” said BJP state spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharya. “All party workers should remember their happiness and joy should not cause sadness of others.”
Earlier in November, the Trinamool Congress had filed a contempt petition alleging that the authorities in Tripura did not comply with its order to ensure a safe environment for political parties to campaign for the polls. On several occasions, the party’s members were attacked.
The Trinamool Congress had requested that the elections be postponed. However, the Supreme Court had stalled the request, saying that polls could be conducted lawfully. The court also called for additional security during the elections.
But, on Thursday – the day of the polls – the Trinamool Congress had alleged that its candidates were being beaten up by Bharatiya Janata Party supporters and people were being stopped from voting. The party also claimed that BJP supporters, fearful of defeat, were casting votes on behalf of the voters.