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BJP wins Tripura by-elections with record margin

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Agartala: The ruling BJP on Friday won both assembly seats in the Tripura by-poll with a record margin held on September 5, which increased the strength of the BJP in the 60-member house to 33 alone, and its ally IPFT has one.

With the by-election result, the opposition CPM was reduced to 10, and Congress and TIPRA Motha retained their strength at three and 13, respectively. The BJP’s win in both the Muslim-dominated constituencies of Tripura bordering Bangladesh has been considered a message across the country about minorities standing with the BJP.

The BJP candidate Tafajjal Hossain from Boxanagar constituency won, defeating CPM nominee Mizan Hossain by a margin of 30,237 votes, which was won by the CPM in the last assembly elections in March this year, but this by-poll result set a new record in the electoral history of Tripura.

While Tafajjal Hossain of the BJP got 34,146 votes, his rival Mizan secured only 3,909 votes in the by-election, where over 89 percent turnout was recorded. Boxanagar had been a stronghold of the CPM, and barring three elections when Congress had won the seats in 1972, 1988, and 1988.

This is the first time BJP has won the seat with a record margin, said BJP leader Subal Bhowmik, who managed the crucial by-election in Boxanagar and added, “CPM and Congress have been in a mischievous campaign in communal line branding BJP as a Hindu party, but minority people of Boxanagar proved it; no community is against the development model of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and liberal politics of BJP.”

In the Dhanpur constituency, BJP candidate Bindu Debnath defeated his nearest rival, CPM candidate Kaushik Chanda, by a margin of 18,871 votes. While Debnath secured 30,017 votes, Chanda could manage only 11,146 votes.

BJP nominee and union minister of state for empowerment and social justice Pratima Bhoumik was first elected from Dhanpur in the last assembly election, but she resigned, which necessitated the by-poll. Dhanpur was a traditional seat of the CPM until the 2018 assembly election.

Former Chief Minister Manik Sarkar was able to win from Dhanpur in 2018, when anti-incumbency against him was very high, but in 2023, Sarkar didn’t contest, which paved the way for Pratima Bhoumik in the last election.

Chief Minister Dr Manik Saha and BJP state president Rajib Bhattacharjee congratulated the electorates of Boxanagar and Dhanpur separately and said, “The BJP’s success in the by-polls has given a strong message to the country against the so-called opposition alliance ahead of the upcoming assembly elections in five states.”

Raising allegations of large-scale poll rigging during the election on September 5 in both seats, the CPM boycotted the counting for by-elections. They alleged the election was rigged by the ruling BJP miscreants using a section of the police and civil administration in an extraordinary terror situation.

However, the election commission did not accept the allegations, and based on the observers’ report, ECI stated that the by-election was fair and peaceful, which enraged the opposition parties. Although the main opposition parties, TIPRA Motha and Congress, didn’t contest the election, they stood by the CPM’s allegation of poll rigging.

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