Left set to sweep Tripura

Last Updated: Thu, Feb 28, 2013 07:10 hrs

Agartala: Tripura's ruling Left Front was Thursday headed for a landslide victory in elections to retain power for a fifth five-year term, with the CPI-M leading in 49 of the total 60 seats.

Counting trends were available for 58 of the 60 constituencies. Congress candidates were leading in just nine seats.

Congress leader Ratan Lal Nath, the opposition leader in the outgoing assembly, who was elected four times since 1993, was trailing in Mohanpur in western Tripura.

Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, Finance Minister Badal Chowdhury and their cabinet colleagues were all leading by huge margins, officials said.

Former chief minister Samir Ranjan Barman (Congress) and Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura president Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawl, a Congress ally, were among those trailing.

Tripura made electoral history when a record 93.57 percent of the 2.3 million voters exercised their franchise Feb 14. A total of 249 candidates were in the fray.

The Left Front has ruled Tripura since 1978 barring one five-year term (1988-93).

In 2008, the CPI-M won 46 seats and its allies CPI and RSP won one and two seats respectively. The Congress won 10 seats and the INPT one seat.

The counting of votes began at 8 a.m., Chief Electoral Officer Ashutosh Jidal told IANS. The final results are expected by afternoon.

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