New Delhi: PRACCIS, a Delhi-based research organisation specialising in field work-based study of contemporary India, in collaboration with Maharaja Bir Bikram University, Agartala, undertook a qualitative and quantitative election study of Tripura assembly election which took place on February 16, 2023.
The qualitative study was conducted in all the 60 Assembly constituencies.
The election to the 60-member Assembly in Tripura was held on February 16, while the counting of votes is expected to take place across 21 venues on March 2.
While the BJP won 36 seats in the 2018 election, BJP’s ally IPFT (Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura) won eight seats.
For the quantitative study, the 60 Assembly seats were divided into three demographic strata: tribal dominated seats, non-tribal/Bengali dominated seats; and mixed-demography seats.
The purpose of the qualitative survey was to understand not only the political preference of the respondents but also the socio-economic realities in which they reside so that a clearer picture of the political and cultural dynamics of Tripura unfolds in front of us. The findings of our qualitative survey corroborate with our findings through the quantitative survey as detailed below.
The 2023 Assembly election in Tripura is all set to reward the incumbent BJP government to power again.
There is a close fight between the CPM-Congress alliance and the TIPRA Motha, the local tribal party for the second position. In terms of seat, TIPRA Motha has slight edge over the CPM-Congress alliance despite latter securing more votes.
In a major shift from the past, the voting pattern this time is along the ethnic lines. While an overwhelming section of tribals are voting for the local tribal party TIPRA Motha, led by the royal scion, Pradyot Manikya Debbarma, the non-Tribals are veering decisively behind the incumbent BJP.
In general, BJP is the default beneficiary as people are disappointed with its economic delivery but happy with the change in political culture of Tripura from being a Party State to becoming relatively freer from the surveillance of the political parties.
The alliance between erstwhile antagonistic parties, the CPM and the Congress doesn’t seem to work on ground as the remaining Congress voters still have a negative memory of the CPM rule wherein they faced intense violence and discrimination in everyday life. The people on the ground saw the alliance more as a coming together of some leaders rather than the respective voters. In nutshell, the alliance mathematics lacks chemistry.
The local tribal party, TIPRA Motha has immense appeal among the majority of Tribals except the Chakmas and the Mogs. The concept of THANSA, meaning tribal unity is effectively working on the ground.
The BJP, therefore, is expected to corner seats between 34 and 39, followed by TIPRA Motha, which is projected to get some 11 to 16 seats. The Congress-CPM Jot is seen as coming a distant third, pegged to get between 9 and 14 seats.
Sajjan Kumar is associated with PRACCIS, a Delhi based research institution.
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