Meanwhile, Meghalaya appears to be headed towards a hung assembly with the Conrad Sangma-led NPP emerging as the single-largest party.
The elections for Tripura assembly were held on February 16, where 89.95 per cent of the 28.14 lakh voters exercised their franchise. The elections for Meghalaya and Nagaland assemblies were conducted on February 27.
Northeast assembly elections 2023 live updates
Here are the key takeaways:
BJP at the forefront
The party’s poll machine remains in fine fettle. A comfortable win in Tripura proves that its performance in 2018 was no fluke and it is now the party to beat in the state. PM Narendra Modi’s appeal carried the day in the state which has a huge Bengali majority while it will be chalked down as another win masterminded by home minister Amit Shah.
Though BJP is a minor player in Nagaland and Meghalaya, it made its presence felt and will continue to have a share in the government, maintaining its pan-India footprint. The gains are unlikely to have any impact on the much bigger state polls later this year but they do reinforce the impression of BJP being a winning unit and will help keep morale high.
Congress, Left in terminal decline
The days when Congress dominated the politics of the north-east and CPM lorded over Tripura are long gone. While Congress has ceased to be a factor in these parts, the CPM will be deflated by its vote share falling from 42% last time to 25% in Tripura. It looks like the end of the road for the Left, which had for long enjoyed an oversized voice in national politics.
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TMC’s hopes dashed
For a while now, the Trinamool Congress has been straining to expand outside of West Bengal and give its supremo Mamata Banerjee the national stage that she so clearly desires. It had pinned its hopes on Tripura, hoping to make inroads into the state’s predominant Bengali population, while hoping to make gains in Meghalaya where it had received a welcome boost when 12 Congress MLAs, led by former CM Mukul Sangma, joined its ranks. It contested 28 seats in Tripura and 56 in Meghalaya. The former proved to be a washout, with no seats and less than 1% of the vote, while Meghalaya offered some succour with five seats and over 13% vote. After its dismal outing in Goa in 2022 when it failed to win a single seat, the Trinamool looks destined to be confined to Bengal in the near future.
Limits of tribal assertion in Tripura
The tribals in Tripura will continue to play second fiddle to Bengalis. The vast difference in numbers, with Bengalis accounting for 70% of the population, means tribal consolidation can win only so many seats in the state. The baton of the long-standing demand for a separate state, championed by various parties, this time passed to the Tipra Motha, which managed to keep the flock together.