Agartala: The ruling CPI-M-led Left Front on Tuesday wrested one assembly seat from the Congress and retained another in Tripura, increasing its tally in the 60-member assembly to 51.
According to election department officials, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) wrested the Scheduled Caste Reserved Barjala seat and retained the Khowai assembly constituency, defeating their nearest rivals Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Trinamool Congress (TMC) respectively, in the by-polls held on November 19.
In Barjala constituency CPI-M's youth leader Jhumu Sarkar defeated BJP's Shista Mohan Das, a former bureaucrat, by a margin of 3,374 Votes. Sarkar got 15,769 votes and Das secured 12,395 votes in the seat, an election department official said.
The official said that in Khowai seat, CPI-M's Biswajit Datta trounced TMC's Manoj Das, a former Left leader, by a margin of 16,094 votes. Datta bagged 24,810 votes and Das managed 8,716 votes.
Erstwhile, main opposition party in Left ruled Tripura, Congress candidates in both Barjala and Khowai secured distant fourth positions.
The Barjala seat fell vacant after Congress legislator Jitendra Sarkar resigned on June 6 following an internal feud within the party while the Khowai seat has been vacant since the death of veteran CPI-M legislator Samir Deb Sarkar.
Five candidates each contested from the two constituencies. Elections were held on Saturday with over 91 per cent of the 78,400 electorate casting their votes in the two politically important assembly constituencies.
Once Tripura's main opposition party Congress' nominee and former Tripura government senior official Rajendra Kumar Das got only 1,063 votes in Barjala and the party's candidate Pranab Biswas secured a mere 696 votes in Khowai.
In 2013 general assembly elections, defeating the Congress nominee, CPI-M candidate Samir Deb Sarkar had won the Khowai by a margin of 8,833 votes while Congress nominee Jitendra Sarkar had succeeded in Barjala defeating the CPI-M candidate by a margin of 261 votes.
The CPI-M, a dominant partner of the ruling Left Front, secured the Khowai seat five consecutive times while the Left party intermittently won the Barjala seat several times.
A former CPI-M legislator, Sarkar, who served as Speaker of the Tripura assembly twice in the past joined the Congress in March 2010 and won the seat in 2013 defeating the CPI-M nominee, resigned from the assembly membership a few months back. After internal feud in the Congress, he rejoined the CPI-M on June 6 this year after resigning from the assembly membership.
Political analyst Sanjib Deb said the BJP has become an emerging political force in Tripura.
"Due to split in main opposition Congress, the TMC has also become a significant political force in Left ruled Tripura," Deb told IANS.