- BJP dethrones Manik Sarkar-led Left government in Tripura
- Manik Sarkar was chief minister for four consecutive terms
- Himanta Biswa, former Congressman, is BJP's main strategist in Northeast
The 69-year-old chief minister has governed Tripura since 1998. He is a politburo member of CPI-M and ruled the state for four consecutive terms.
"Manik Sarkar has just three options before him. He can go to West Bengal, where the CPI-M still has some presence. He can go to Kerala, where the party is in power and will rule for three more years or he can go to neighbouring Bangladesh," Mr Sarma said.
The BJP leader had earlier kicked up a row during an election rally in Dhanpur, Manik Sarkar's constituency, by reportedly suggesting that the Tripura chief minister would be sent to Bangladesh after the assembly elections. He also criticised his government over the alleged deteriorating law and order situation and cross-border crimes.
The BJP, along with its regional ally the Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT), stormed to power with 43 seats in Tripura. Whereas the CPM got just 16. Tripura has 60 assembly seats and a party needs 31 to form the government.
For a long time after counting began this morning, the Left and the BJP were locked in a close fight. As the BJP roared ahead, senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi tweeted, "CPM Tripura fort to crumble in next 1 hour."
Another BJP leader called it a "historic verdict" for Tripura. "CPM gave a spirited fight but people have voted for poriborton, accepted our slogan of 'Chalo Paltai' (let's change)," senior BJP leader Ram Madhav told reporters.
BJP workers moved to Agartala streets to celebrate the grand win. 48-year-old Biplab Kumar Dev, Tripura BJP chief, is emerging as the BJP's top pick for the chief minister's post.
Elections in 59 seats were held on February 18. Election in one seat was cancelled due to the death of a CPI-M candidate.