BJP sweeps Tripura civic polls amid allegations of rigging, violence

The ruling BJP won 112 seats spread across 20 urban bodies uncontested. It also swept a majority of wards where elections were held

BJP sweeps Tripura civic polls amid allegations of rigging, violence

Jayanta Kumar Das

The ruling BJP has swept the civic body elections in Tripura, having won all the seats of the 51-member Agartala Municipal Corporation (AMC) and clinching several other urban local bodies.

Polling for a total of 334 seats, including Agartala Municipal Corporation (51 wards), 13 municipal councils and six nagar panchayats, was held on November 24. The ruling BJP won 112 seats spread across 20 urban bodies uncontested. No other parties had fielded their candidates in seven ULBs.

Elections were held in the remaining 222 seats spread across 13 ULBs, including the AMC, in which as many as 785 contestants were in the fray after 36 candidates withdrew their nominations.

The BJP secured all the wards in the 15-member Khowai Municipal Council, 17-seat Belonia Municipal Council, 15-member Kumarghat Municipal Council and nine-member Sabroom Nagar Panchayat, state election commission officials said. It also made a clean sweep in the 25-ward Dharmanagar Municipal Council, 15-seat Teliamura Municipal Council and 13-member Amarpur Nagar Panchayat, they said.

Sonamura Nagar Panchayat and Melaghar Nagar Panchayat became opposition less with the BJP having won all the 13 seats each. It also bagged the 11-member Jirania Nagar Panchayat.

The party secured 12 seats of Ambassa Municipal Council, while the TMC and the CPI-M won one seat each and another went to an independent candidate.

The BJP also won 16 seats of Kailashahar Municipal Council and the CPI(M) got one. In Panisagar Nagar Panchayat, the BJP emerged victorious in 12 seats, and the CPI (M) bagged one.

The ruling BJP is locked in a battle with the Trinamool Congress, which is foraying into the North-east and elsewhere to establish itself as a national party, and with the CPI(M), which the saffron camp had dethroned from power in the state some years ago.

The TMC, which alleged vote-rigging and intimidation in the elections, had demanded countermanding of the entire polls. The CPI(M) had sought fresh elections in five municipal bodies, including the AMC.

Both parties had claimed that the authorities remained silent spectators as BJP supporters attacked political rivals and rigged the elections. The BJP camp, however, stoutly denied the charges.

Meanwhile, a section of voters felt that it was better to vote for the BJP which is currently ruling the state as well as the Centre.

“We want development and not politics, but the way Tripura is moving forward with turmoil all across, it is better to refrain from voting for other parties and look forward to development with double-engine government functioning in the state,” some of the voters said.

While another section of voters reacted strongly to the ‘throttling’ of voice of democracy and said that the people of the state had wanted a change in 2018 after 25 years of the CPI-M rule, but the change that took place now seemed to be turning worse.

People fear that the violence and pitched battles between BJP, TMC and CPI-M may intensify as the state nears the assembly elections in 2023.

(With inputs from PTI)

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