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How BJP fashioned Tripura win?

Bharatiya Janata Party general secretary Ram Madhav, state BJP chief Biplab Kumar Deb display victory sign as they celebrate with supporters after party’s victory in state Assembly elections results in Agartala on Saturday. Photo: PTIPremium
Bharatiya Janata Party general secretary Ram Madhav, state BJP chief Biplab Kumar Deb display victory sign as they celebrate with supporters after party’s victory in state Assembly elections results in Agartala on Saturday. Photo: PTI

BJP, not only unseats the five-term regime of the CPM in Tripura, but also manages to increase its vote share from 1% in the last election to 42.5% as PM Narendra Modi continues to be its primary vote gatherer

New Delhi: The spectacular victory of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led alliance in Tripura only reinforces its credentials as the new pole of Indian politics.

With its imminent victory (the final results are yet to be declared) the BJP has expanded its electoral footprint to four of the seven states in the region. It is already in power in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.

But the win in Tripura will be special. Not only did it unseat the five-term regime of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPM, but it also managed to increase its vote share from about 1% in the last election to a little over 42.5%—only marginally below that of the CPM at 43.2%.

How did BJP fashion this win?

First, like in almost every election since 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi continues to be the BJP’s primary vote gatherer. In addition, the BJP deployed 52 union ministers in Tripura during the campaign. The aim was to boost confidence of the cadre who were up against arch rivals, Left.

“No matter what the critics say, the fact is that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has tremendous connect with the people who think that he is the man who can deliver. His intent and integrity is unquestionable. There is no doubt that Modi works hard and people realise that," said a senior BJP leader in Delhi.

Second, anti-incumbency worked against the CPM; and the obverse it was a sentiment the challenger gladly tapped. Senior BJP leaders also pointed out that the Left government in Tripura failed to understand that the aspirations of people had changed and voters wanted benefits of development to reach them.

Third, the Congress party drew a blank, ensuring that this ended up as a direct face off between the BJP and CPM.

“Tripura was a classic battle between left and right ideologies. Both the parties contest with a lot vigour. People wanted to change the government but there was very little option because Congress party was never an option for the people of Tripura. Whereas BJP was the immediate challenger for the Left," said the BJP leader.

In the run-up to the election in Tripura, the Congress party was faced with a serious divide after seven legislators left the party to join the Trinamool Congress (TMC). The party which won 10 assembly constituencies in the 2013 elections, currently has managed to get a vote share of less than 2% this year. In a major boost for the BJP, the legislators quit TMC and joined the BJP in August 2017.

Fourth, undoubtedly at that, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological parent of the BJP, which has been working in the North East for years was a key factor.

“The role of the RSS is also important in this victory. Some of the senior workers were sent to BJP to work in Tripura. Sunil Deodhar who is the incharge of BJP in Tripura is also a pracharak who was handpicked by Modi and BJP president Amit Shah. Deodhar had handled Varanasi for Modi in 2014 Lok Sabha elections," the BJP leader explained.

In the final analysis it is clear that the BJP has successfully replaced the Congress as the primary national party in the North East. That this was achieved in less than four years makes it that much more impressive.

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