New Delhi: Counting of votes began in the Northeastern states of Meghalaya, Tripura and Nagaland amidst unprecedented security on Thursday. The Assembly elections in the three states, having 60 seats each, were held February 14 and February 23.
Tripura's ruling Left Front stormed back to power in Tripura for the fifth straight term, delivering a humiliating blow to the Congress.
The Left Front led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) also increased its vote share compared to 2008, election officials said.
The Congress and its allies, the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) and the Nationalist Conference of Tripura were crushed, for the fifth consecutive time since 1993.
The CPI-M on its own won 49 seats out of the total 60 seats.
The Communist Party of India (CPI) won one seat. However, the CPI suffered humiliation on one seat. The Left Front won 50 seats overall.
The Congress could managed to get only 10 seats.
Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, 64, who has ruled Tripura since 1998, won from Dhanpur by a margin of around 5,000 votes. It was Sarkar's sixth win.
Finance Minister Badal Chowdhury posted the highest winning margin of 12,450 votes.
Commerce Minister Jitendra Chowdhury, School Education Minister Tapan Chakraborty, Information Minister Anil Sarkar, Tribal Welfare Minister Aghore Debbarma and all cabinet colleagues retained their seats by huge margins.
Teacher-turned-politician Anil Sarkar, 75, who is also a poet and writer, was re-elected on CPI-M ticket from Pratapgarh in western Tripura for a record ninth time.
Congress leader Ratan Lal Nath was also re-elected from Mohanpur while state Congress president Sudip Roy Barman retained his Agartala seat -- for the fourth time.
Former Tripura Assembly speaker Jitendra Sarkar, who this time contested on Congress ticket, wrested Barjala seat from the CPI-M. Sarkar won by 254 votes defeating Jitendra Das.
In a significant development, CPI-M's Ratan Das wrested Ramnagar after a gap of 25 years. He defeated former state Congress chief and ex-minister Surajit Datta by just 15 votes.
"This is a great victory for the Left Front and shows its popularity and public support. Good governance is one of the key factors for the thumping victory," gloated CPI-M spokesperson Gautam Das.
"People voted for the Left to establish peace and development in all sectors," Das said.
Tripura made electoral history when a record 93.57 percent of the 2.3 million voters exercised their franchise Feb 14 to pick a 60-seat assembly. There were 249 candidates in the fray.
The Left Front has ruled Tripura since 1978 barring one term (1988-93).
In 2008, the Left registered a thumping victory. The CPI-M alone won 46 seats and partners CPI and RSP secured one and two seats respectively. The Congress bagged 10 seats and the INPT one.
The Indian National Congress here has won 29 seats in the election to the 60-member Meghalaya Assembly with Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, his wife DD Shira and his brother Zenith Sangma winning with huge margins. Lone woman legislator Ampareen Lyngdoh retained her urban 16 East Shillong seat edging out her nearest rival and former deputy chief minister B M Lanong of the UDP by over 4000 votes.
Cabinet Ministers HDR Lyngdoh and Prestone Tynsong retained their Sohiong and Pynursla seats respectively.
Lyngdoh won by a margin of over 3000 votes over his lone rival and UDP candidate B Kharphuli while Tynsong is leading over his nearest rival and UDP candidate B Khongwar by almost 2000 votes.
The PA Sangma led National Peoples Party won two seats.
The UDP, which had an alliance with the Congress in the outgoing Assembly, has won 8 seats while others clinched 21 seats. The NCP managed to win 2 seats only.
Carved out of Assam in 1972, Meghalaya has seen 23 chief ministers in a span of 41 years. Captain Williamson Sangma, who led the government for the first time, was the only one to ever lead a single-party government in the state. Since then, Meghalaya has seen fractured mandates, leading to volatile coalition governments.
The Congress fielded candidates in all 60 constituencies while the United Democratic Party (UDP) contested 50 seats.
Ruling Naga Peoples Front combine returned to power with an absolute majority in Nagaland winning 39 seats in the 60-member Assembly.
After an impressive show, the ruling NPF-led Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) alliance will form government for a third consecutive term.
Congress managed to win eight seats. The NCP has won four seats. Independent and others have won 10 seats.
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio won from Northern Angami
II seat by defeating his nearest Congress rival Kevise Sogotsu of Congress by 12,671 votes. Nagaland Congress PCC President SI Jamir also tasted success from Dimapur II seat by defeating his nearest Independent rival Savi Liegise by 1,615 votes.
Among other prominent candidates who won are - NCP candidate A Imtilemba Sangtam who defeated Congress rival
Thrinimong in Longkhim Chare by 1459 votes. NPF EE Pangteang defeated Congress candidate Longang by 5281 votes in Moka constituency. NPF candidate P Longon defeated Congress candidate H Haiying by 3305 votes in Noklak seat.
NPF candidate CM Chang defeated NCP candidate Lima Onen Chang by 1092 votes from Noksen seat. NPF candidate R Tohanba defeated JD(U) candidate K Yimso Yimchunger by 2914 votes.
NPF candidate Vikho O Yhoshu defeated Congress candidate Nagakul by 4492 votes.
NPF candidate Kropol Vitsu defeated Congress rival KV Pusa by 5451 votes. NPF candidate CL John defeated Congress rival W Wangyuh by 7891 votes. NCP candidate L Khumo Khiamniungan defeated NPF candidate S Heno by 1307 votes. BJP candidate P Paiwang Konyak defeated NPF candidate Aloh by 3076 votes.
The NPF had a pre-poll alliance with the BJP and JD-U and the strength of DAN in the outgoing assembly was 35. In the 2008 polls, the NPF won 26 seats on its own while the Congress won 23.
A total of 2,600 electronic voting machines were used to conduct the polls in 2,023 polling stations. Re-polling was held at nine polling stations.
First Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013, 08:49