Despite a fall in vote share and seat tally, BJP has managed to retain power in Tripura. Like Gujarat and Uttarakhand, in Tripura too the BJP clearly managed to diminish the anti-incumbency factor by changing the Chief Minister a year ahead of the elections. The continuing rise of Tipra Motha as a regional party with popular mass support among the indigenous people of Tripura has been the most significant feature of the Tripura elections. The rise of the Tipra Motha has however turned out to be the biggest help for the BJP to save its government in a three-way contest. The Motha's own winning tally, though quite significant, has been short of pre-poll expectation and projections. Yet, in more than a dozen non-ST seats, the division in non-BJP votes between the CPI(M)-Congress alliance and the Tipra Motha, and to a much lesser extent the TMC, worked in the BJP's favour.
CPI(ML) had independently contested just one seat, while supporting the Left-Congress alliance on most seats and the Motha on select ST seats. Comrade Partha Karmakar, the lone CPI(ML) candidate, finished third by polling over 1,000 votes from the Radhakishorepur segment in Udaipur district.
In Nagaland, the BJP remains junior partner in the NDPP-led ruling coalition while in Meghalaya, with just two MLAs, the BJP has renewed its coalition with the NPP to reenter the ruling arrangement. The BJP has thus managed to retain power in the three North-Eastern states in this first round of 2023 Assembly elections.
While the Congress performance in Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland showed little signs of Congress revival, the party won two significant bypoll victories in Maharashtra and West Bengal wresting a traditional seat each from the respective ruling parties. In Maharashtra, the victory of the Congress candidate backed by NCP and Uddhav Thackeray led Shiv Sena from the Kasba Peth constituency held by the BJP for 28 years signifies a growing popular anger against the Shinde-Fadanvis regime. The Congress retained the Erode seat in Tamil Nadu with a thumping victory but lost the Ramgarh bypoll in Jharkhand to the BJP's ally AJSU.
In West Bengal the victory of the Congress candidate from Sagardighi in Murshidabad district came as a reassuring reflection of the continuing decline of the BJP and the possibility of the Left-Congress alliance emerge as the principal opposition in the legislative arena. There is growing popular anger among various sections of people against the TMC misrule and Sagardighi victory will surely give a boost to the ongoing popular agitations in the state. The lone non-BJP opposition MLA, Nawsad Siddique who was recently manhandled and arrested by the police, got bail yesterday and it was reassuring to see the Sagardighi electorate register their protest against the humiliating treatment meted out by the police to a young Muslim MLA by inflicting a defeat on the ruling TMC and increasing the tally of the non-BJP opposition in the State Assembly.
The Assembly and by-poll results once again show us the way ahead for the non-BJP opposition ahead of the crucial 2024 elections. The combination of effective opposition unity in the elections and powerful struggles and popular assertion on the ground can surely dislodge the fascist forces from power. As resolved by the recently held 11th Congress in Patna, the CPI(ML) will work tirelessly with all its strength and energy to achieve this goal.