May 25, 2014

CPI(M) Retains Both Seats With Greater Margins

Rahul Sinha

* Left Front’s vote share increases to 64.77 percent. * All opposition candidates lose deposits * Decisive lead of more than 50 percent votes in 58 assembly seats. THE people of Tripura have once reposed their faith in the Left in the recent parliamentary elections, and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Left Front of Tripura have not only retained both the Lok Sabha seats (East Tripura and West Tripura) here; at the same time the vote share and margin of victory of the Left have also increased significantly. This victory of the Left in the state has come in the midst of a serious setback which, unfortunately, the Left has suffered in the 16th Lok Sabha elections in other parts of the country. MORE VOTE SHARES, BIGGER MARGINS Detailed results available from the Election Commission of India show that the Left Front’s CPI(M) candidates in the state have bagged 64.77 percent of the valid votes polled. The CPI(M) has in fact got more than 50 percent of the votes in 58 out of the 60 assembly segments coming under these two parliamentary seats. More interestingly, all the 23 opposing candidates including those of the INC, BJP and TMC have lost their deposits. The result is clearly indicative of the increasing support base of the Left in Tripura and at the same time an unequivocal rejection of the negative, anti-people and anti-development politics of the opposition. In fact in both the seats, the CPI(M)’s votes, winning margins and vote shares have increased in comparison to the 2009 Lok Sabha elections and the 2013 assembly elections. In the West Tripura parliamentary seat, CPI(M) candidate and the state CITU’s general secretary Shankar Prasad Datta emerged victorious by defeating his closest rival of Indian National Congress (INC), Dr Arunoday Saha, by a huge margin of 5,03,486 votes. In 2009 the CPI(M)’s winning margin in this seat was a little more than 2,48,000 votes. At that time the CPI(M) had bagged 60.14 percent of the total valid votes here. In this election the CPI(M) has secured not only a higher margin of victory; its vote share too has increased to 63.36 percent. The picture was no different in East Tripura (ST) parliamentary seat. Here the CPI(M) candidate and the state’s industry and commerce minister Jitendra Choudhury defeated his nearest rival, Sachitra Debbarma, by a huge margin of 4,84,358 votes and bagged a whopping 66.36 percent of the valid votes cast. In 2009 the winning margin here was around 2,95,000 and the vote share was 63.47 percent. In other words, combining both the seats, the CPI(M) has in these elections got 64.77 percent of the total valid votes which is 3.08 percent more than what it got in 2009. Compared to the result of the assembly election of 2013 as well, the Left Front’s vote share has increased by more than 12 percent. In the assembly elections, the Left Front had got 52.3 percent votes. In these elections too, as it was in 2009, CPI(M) candidates of the Left Front have polled more votes in all the 60 assembly segments falling under these two parliamentary constituencies. In the 2013 assembly polls, the Left Front had won in 50 out of the 60 seats. Out of these 50, Left Front candidates had got more than 50 percent of the valid votes in 45 seats. This time a decisive mandate of more than 50 percent votes went in favour of the CPI(M) in 58 seats. In some of the seats, CPI(M) got even more than 70 percent of votes. In the East Tripura seat, the CPI(M) got more than 50 percent of votes in all the 30 assembly segments constituting it. As for the West Tripura seat, the CPI(M) got less than 50 percent of votes in only two assembly segments --- in Town Bardowali and Banamalipur of Agartala city. ALL OPPOSITION BADLY MAULED The pitiable condition of the opposition is evident from the fact that all the 23 candidates of opposition in both the seats taken together --- including the candidates of the Indian National Congress, Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Bharatiya Janata Party --- have failed to save their electoral deposits. In the West Tripura seat, the Congress was in the second spot but it could garner a mere 15.87 percent of votes while the TMC reached the third spot and its candidate for the seat cum its state chairman Ratan Chakraborty got 11.11 percent of votes. The BJP state president and its candidate for the same seat, Sudhindra Dasgupta, got a mere 5.16 percent votes. Out of the other nine candidates in this seat, only the pro-secession Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura could manage to get more than one percent of the votes. In the East Tripura seat, 12 candidates were in the fray. INC candidate Sachitra Debbarma could get a mere 14.83 percent votes. Hence none of the 11 opposing candidates could save their deposits. Interestingly, however, the TMC emerged second in ten assembly segments and the BJP in three. In the rest 47 assembly segments, the INC was in second position. According to Khagen Das, convener of Tripura Left Front Committee, this enhanced support in favour of the Left is the outcome of the relentless effort of the Left Front government of Tripura for an all round development of the state and particularly for an upliftment of the poorer and weaker sections of the society in tune with the alternative policies put forth by the Left. But this should not make us complacent, Das warned. This success has to be consolidated. Thousands of families have joined and are still joining hands with us, severing their ties with the Congress and other opposition parties. We have to reach out to them, involve and activate them in different mass organisations and ensure their active participation in the day to day movements of the different Leftist and democratic mass organisation on the pressing demands of life and livelihood. One may recall here that polling for the Tripura West seat took place on April 7 and for the Tripura East (ST) seat on April 12. The polling was absolutely peaceful and incident free. West Tripura recorded a polling percentage of 86.27. Including those of the CPI(M), INC, BJP and TMC, a total of 13 candidates were in the fray here. In East Tripura seat, the polling percentage was 83.67 percent. ‘LF WILL REMAIN WITH THE PEOPLE’ When the counting started in 13 centres consisting of 36 counting halls on May 16, it became clear from the very early trends that the Left Front candidates were way ahead of all their rivals. As time elapsed and counting progressed, the CPI(M)’s candidates emerged victorious in both the seats, breaking all the previous records. Addressing a press conference, the CPI(M)’s Tripura state secretary Bijan Dhar and state secretariat member Gautam Das thanked the democratic, secular, peace loving and development oriented masses of the state for this huge mandate. Bijan Dhar said the party was grateful to all the Left Front workers, supporters and sympathisers who had worked hard in the campaign to convince the masses to vote in favour of the Left. He said the victory was the result of support of the masses to the developmental works of the state government in tune with the alternative policies of the Left. He assured that the CPI(M) and the Left Front would continue to implement these alternative policies. Another factor was the anti-people policies of the UPA government at the centre, which has badly affected the life of the people. The struggle against these neo-liberal economic policies and the efforts to get the unfulfilled demands of the state fulfilled would continue. Dhar said the people have used these elections to give a befitting reply to the planned and false campaign by the opposition and a section of the media against the Left Front. Moreover, the fact that thousands of families joined with us after the assembly elections or during the latest campaign, while severing their ties with the Congress, has also helped to increase our votes. The Left Front would continue to remain with the people and to work among the people so that divisive and communal forces could be stopped from making inroads in the state. In a separate statement, Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar said the results had made it clear that the victory of both the CPI(M) candidates with huge margins has set a record in the state. He said that, honouring this verdict, both the members of parliament would play a graceful and effective role in the parliament for the welfare of the state. As for the verdict at the national level, we had estimated that the Congress would get a severe drubbing for its anti-people policies, which is what has happened: the Congress has faced its worst ever electoral defeat now. This anti-Congress wave has, however, benefited the BJP. The last three phases of polling in West Bengal were widely rigged and marred by violence. All the opposition parties have complained about this and raised questions about the role of the Election Commission. Sarkar assured that the CPI(M) and the Left Front would analyse the results and draw proper lessons from them.