Left Front heads for landslide victory in Tripura
Agartala, Feb 28 : Tripura's ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) led Left Front was Thursday heading for a landslide victory and seemed set to retain power for a fifth straight term.
According to trends available from 58 constituencies, the CPI-M was leading in 49 seats out of 60.
The Congress was leading in just nine seats.
Opposition leader in the outgoing assembly and Congress' key leader Ratan Lal Nath, who was elected to the state assembly four times since 1993, was trailing in the Mohanpur assembly segment in western Tripura.
Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, Finance Minister Badal Chowdhury and their cabinet colleagues were leading by huge margins.
Former chief minister and Congress leader Samir Ranjan Barman and INPT (Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura), Congress' ally, president and former militant leader Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawl were among those trailing in their seats.
The northeastern state of Tripura made electoral history when a record 93.57 percent of the 2.3 million voters exercised their franchise in the Feb 14 election to the 60-seat assembly.
Thursday's result would decide the political fate of 249 candidates, including 15 women and many independents.
"Counting of ballots has been underway in 60 halls in 17 venues simultaneously since 8 a.m. Final results are likely to be out by afternoon," Tripura Chief Electoral Officer Ashutosh Jidal told IANS.
The Left Front has been in power since 1978, barring one term during 1988 to 1993.
In the last elections in 2008, the Left registered a thumping victory. The CPI-M alone won 46 seats and partners Communist Party of India and Revolutionary Socialist Party secured one and two seats respectively. The Congress bagged 10 seats, and the INPT one.