Assembly polls: All eyes on Tripura as counting begins in 3 North East states
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Counting of votes for the Assembly seats in Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland began at 8 am on Thursday morning amidst tight security.
Polling was held in 60 Assembly seats of Meghalaya, 59 of the 60 seats in Nagaland and 60 seats in Tripura.
As counting of votes begins in three Northeastern states – Nagaland, Meghalaya and Tripura – all eyes are however fixed on Tripura, the last bastion of the Left, with the entire nation wondering whether Manik Sarkar will really be able to do what Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and VS Achuthanandan could not in West Bengal and Kerala respectively in 2011.
Sarkar, who is confident of taking the Left Front for the fifth consecutive term, in fact claims his party would win more seats than it did in 2008, taking the Left tally beyond 50. While the Left Front had 49 legislators in the outgoing House of 60, the Congress and its ally INPT had ten and one MLAs respectively. Critics of the Left Front who do not necessarily want to put their money in the Cong-INPT alliance, however think the Left may either lose a couple of seats or witness a reduction in vote-share, especially with a large section of state government employees remaining sore over Sarkar's failure to give them a pay scale at par with central government employees.
But while the Congress-INPT still expects that the 1.74 lakh state government employees together with about five lakh unemployed persons would tilt the balance in its favour, the BJP contesting in as many as 50 seats is likely to indirectly benefit the Left Front because every vote that it is likely to get is from the Congress vote-base. Slicing away even 100 votes from the Congress would mean a 200-vote gain for the Left Front, and going by the small size of voters in each constituency in the tiny state with just 23.52 lakh voters, that itself will make a huge impact.