It’s flashpoint Tripura, unravelling yet another nail biting show between the saffron and the red, towards road to victory in the battleground North East of assembly elections.
Both the BJP and the CPM in Tripura are toeing the line for the election in 59 out of 60 assembly constituencies, with 25,36, 589 voters flocking 3174 polling stations, in what is believed to be the most crucial mandate for the saffron party and the undisputed Left rule.
Despite speculations of disruptions with both the BJP and the CPM entangled in a fist clinching contest for victory, polling remained fairly peaceful all over the state.
BJP pumped in an influential campaign led by Prime Minister Modi, his presence felt in posters and cutouts stamped all across the poll bound state.
The groundwork for BJP campaigning was done by Sunil Deodhar, BJP’s state in charge and the local poster boy was Biplab Deb, however the saffron party is yet to finalize the claimant for the Chief Minister’s position.
But rumours are doing the rounds on ex-Congressman Sudip Rai Burman to grab the prospective post of Chief Minister.
The past few weeks have been relatively tense for the all the candidates in fray, with BJP eager to make it much anticipated breakthrough in the North East region and the Manik Sarkar led CPM vying for a fifth term in the legislative assembly going on to its record breaking, but not so glorious, 25th year of regime.
The voter turnout according to the latest reports turned out at 78.5 % but in some of the constituencies, voting was postponed or delayed due to some snags in the EVM and VVPats.
CPM secretary Bijan Dhar smelled a rat in the large scale EVM malfunctioning seeking an explanation on it from the Election Commission.
Except two crude bombs recovered from an election site the Election commission dismissed any incidents of violence from anywhere in the state.
The Congress party in a first again failed to make a dent in the state elections losing its position as CPM’s main arch rival to the saffron party.
Interestingly there has been a rise in the share of youth voters this time unlike in the last assembly elections when the youth turnout was just 17%.
And with every vote that counts for the formation of the government, the youth voters from every section of the society, urban or rural seems to favor BJP.
Take into consideration the opinion of 22-year-old Moumita Gupta, an SFI activist, whose family has been CPM loyalists for decades. “I am an SFI activist, but despite that I feel this time the BJP should form the government. It’s not because the Left hasn’t given us anything or that they haven’t done their job. It’s just that I feel that Tripura is being left way behind. If you study in Tripura, your scope of getting a job or a good career is limited. ”
Many of the youths here are tired of seeing the same old government for more than two decades and are looking forward to “parivartan” or BJP’s motto “Chalo platai”, with free smart phone offers for all the Tripura youths.
With the Congress uprooted in Tripura, its voters especially 9 % of its Muslims votes have shifted to CPM. Most party functionaries state that a major share of BJP votes has been “borrowed from Congress as the party had little presence in the state.
BJP’s strong social media campaign targeted at youths, supported with prolific audio-visuals was in stark contrast to the monosyllabic dull campaigns launched by its opponents.
Even though the CPM vows to regain its red bastion, its Chief Manik Sarkar’s image lacked prominence in any of the posters or banners, while the BJP put all its heart and soul into the campaign with PM Modi addressing four rallies in all and party chief Amit Shah stalking five rallies and two road shows to move its mandate.
While the BJP banks on change and reforms to form the next government, the CPM is confident to reclaim its red bastion. It’s a matter of time till the battle of ideologies between the Left and Right chooses the winner.