Tripura goes to polls on 18 February.
Tripura goes to polls on 18 February.(Photo: Liju Joseph/The Quint)
  • 1. Issues Of Tipraland, Unemployment Plague The Left
  • 2. A Resurgent BJP Looks To Win Over Tribal Votes With IPFT...
  • 3. Trinamool & Cong in the Fray, But Weakened By Defections
  • 4. Bengali Vs Tribals: Still A Crucial Divide
Tripura 2018: BJP Rides Anti-Incumbency Wave, Left Guards Bastion

The 60-assembly seats in the state of Tripura go to polls on 18 February. One of their last bastions in the country, the state has been ruled by the Left since 1978, except for five years from 1988 to 1993, when the Congress was in power. The present Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, who has been in office since 1998, has earned the distinction of being the country’s poorest chief minister.

Known to not avail any governmental perks, his election affidavit shows a net worth of only Rs 26 lakhs. The opposition to the Left has traditionally been the Congress. However since 2014, the BJP has seen a surge in its membership, helped by defections from the Congress and the Trinamool Congress (TMC). The surge seems to have unsettled the Left, which too, in no uncertain terms, sees the BJP as its prime threat. Here’s a look at the key factors that will decide the fate of Tripura this election.

  • 1. Issues Of Tipraland, Unemployment Plague The Left

    Tripura goes to polls on 18 February.
    Tripura Chief Minister and CPI(M) leader Manik Sarkar. 
    (File Photo: IANS)

    As is usual in any dispensation that has served so long, the Left has seen both good days and bad. It has been lauded for investing heavily in local police, which got the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) removed from the state. It has also massively reduced militancy by increasing security in the border area. In terms of other social indices like health and education as well, the state is ranked very high. Literacy rate in the state increased from 73.2 percent in 1998 to 97.2 percent presently, making it the most literate state in the country.

    However, issues of employment generation and the government’s stance on Tipraland – a demand for a separate state to be carved out of the tribal areas –may be the Left’s Achilles heel.

    Tripura goes to polls on 18 February.
    (Photo: Infogram)

    In March 2016, nearly 18.7 percent of the state’s population of 3.7 million were unemployed, according to the state’s economic survey 2015-16. The youth in the state have been migrating to cities like Kolkata, Chennai, Pune, Bengaluru etc, in search of better job avenues. The numbers are more dismal in the tribal areas.

    To make matters worse, in December 2017, the government received an additional setback after a Supreme Court order upheld a Tripura High Court verdict, terminating the jobs of 10,323 government school teachers, citing irregularities.

    CPI(M) leaders have, time and again, said that in order to solve the issue of unemployment, a domestic market needs to be created in the state. However, they’ve always cited lack of funding from the Centre as an impediment to their plans.

    Even in the manifesto released by the party this election, employment generation has found no mention.