Old guard reclaim power in Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland
Repeating their wins of 2008, the Left swept the Tripura Assembly polls, the Congress returned to power in Meghalaya and Nagaland was retained by the NPF.
Agartala: The Left Front stormed back to power in Tripura and the Naga People's Front in Nagaland, while the Congress, which fared poorly in both states, emerged as the single-largest party in Meghalaya with two seats short of absolute majority in the assembly election results declared on Thursday.
The three outgoing chief ministers of Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya - Manik Sarkar, Neiphu Rio and Mukul Sangma respectively - were victorious. The Left Front, which has won for the fifth consecutive term in Tripura, secured a three fourths majority with 50 of the 60 seats, with major partner CPI(M) alone securing 49. In Nagaland, the NPF swept back to power for the third consecutive time winning absolute majority securing 38 of the 59 seats. Election in one seat was countermanded following the death of a candidate.
The Congress won only 10 of the 48 seats it contested in Tripura while it managed to win just eight seats compared to the 18 it clinched last time in Nagaland. In Meghalaya, the Congress bagged 29 of the 60 seats, falling two short of an absolute majority. But it improved its tally by securing four more seats than what it won in 2008.
The results were a shot in the arm of Congress Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, who faced stiff opposition from old warhorse PA Sangma whose National People's Party managed to win just two seats. In Tripura, the Left Front increased its tally from 49 seats in 2008 and 42 seats in 2003 paving the way for the installation of the seventh Left Front government since 1967.
Congress allies the INPT and the National Conference of Tripura, which had virtually revolted over allocation of seats before being pacified, drew a blank. All ministers of the outgoing ministry except Science and Technology minister Joy Gobinda Debroy of RSP were re-elected.
Finance Minister Badal Chowdhury made electoral history by defeating his nearest Congress rival by 12,429 votes in the Hrishyamukh constituency. Other prominent LF winners were Agriculture minister Aghore Debbarma from Asharambari constituency, Industries minister Jitendra Chowdhury from Manu, and Jail minister Manindra Reang from Shantirbazar (ST).
Among Congress winners were Leader of the Opposition Ratan Lal Nath from Mohanpur and TPCC President Sudip Roy Burman from Agartala. Prominent losers were INPT President Bijoy Hrankhawl from Ambassa and former TPCC president Surajit Dutta from Ramnagar.
In Nagaland, NPF allies the JD(U) and the BJP won a seat each. In Meghalaya, the NCP won four seats, while the RJD failed to open its account. Independents won in seven seats. The United Democratic Party, key ally of the Congress for the past three years of the United Alliance coalition government, could retain only eight of the 11 seats it won in 2008.
Hill State Peoples Democratic Party president Hopingstone Lyngdoh emerged with a clean slate for the eighth consecutive term to the Assembly from Nongstoin constituency in West Khasi Hills district. His party colleague Ardent Basaiawmoit retained his Nongkrem seat in East Khasi Hills district and the party's position improved by a whopping 50 per cent. The party had won only two seats in 2008. Thirteen Independent candidates also won, some of whom were already camping with the Congress.