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BJP making early gains in Tripura, retains hold in Nagaland


Agartala, Kohima, Giving early shocks to the Left in their citadel, the BJP and its ally IPFT have established early leads in a number of constituencies in Tripura even as CPI-M has retained its hold in their stronghold. Counting of votes for the assembly election in Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura began on Saturday morning amid tight security. Former Congress leader and BJP nominee Sudip Roy Barman is leading in Agartala while BJP seems to be doing well in West Tripura.Up to latest trends available, BJP was leading in 20 as against 15 by the CPI-M candidates.Even tribal-based party IPFT, an ally of BJP, seems to be doing well according to early trends. The BJP has clearly pursued an ambitious and aggressive quest for power in the three northeastern states seeking to give Marxists a run for their money in Tripura, a known red fortress. In Meghalaya, the BJP put up 47 candidates for the 60-member assembly seeking to wrest power from Congress. Tripura unit BJP chief Biplab Kumar Deb said: "People strongly wish for a BJP government in Tripura. During the election campaign, we have witnessed the change in people's mood". This contention has been countered by the CPI-M, which has been ruling the tiny state starved of development for most of the period. "The Modi blitzkrieg will fail in Tripura. The countdown for 2019 will begin," remarked CPI-M leader Bijan Dhar.The present Chief Minister Manik Sarkar is in office since 1998 and during the high-profile campaign, all throughout his party was solely banking on what BJP leaders say - the "fading charishma" of Manik Sarkar. Nearly 80 per cent of the state's 37 lakh people in Tripura are Bengali-speaking Hindus, mostly migrated from Bangladesh. Tribals, mostly Christians, for less than a third of the state's population. BJP had allied with a tribal-based outfit IPFT in Tripura - that is bordered on three sides by Bangladesh. The personal magnetism of another incumbent Chief Minister that came in focus in this year's elections is Mukul Sangma of Meghalaya. In fact, the Congress, which has been losing ground in every election since last three years, is hoping that Mr Sangma would play a 'savior' and help the grand party retain its hold. In Nagaland also  BJP and its ally NDPP are doing well. NDPP leader Neiphiu Rio, a former Chief Minister, is already declared elected uncontested.

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