The Left had been in power in the state for the last 25 years, yet basic facilities have eluded tribal families, says 72-year-old Ranabir Debbarma from Bamutia in West Tripura.
"Many tribal families are still poor and cannot send their children to school. Drinking water remains an issue, tribals still drink water from rivulets. Local CPM leaders would give the benefits of government schemes to their near and dear ones," said Mr Debbarma, a staunch Communist who claimed to have voted for the BJP this time.
Bengalis are the majority in Tripura, and the Left traditionally had a strong grip over backward class Bengali voters in reserved seats like Bamutia. But this time, they switched loyalties in sync with the BJP's call for change.
"I was a CPM supporter who joined the BJP in 2016 because I was tired of CPM's grassroots level corruption right from the panchayat level," said Gourhari Sen.
In these assembly elections, the Left was not the only loser. Congress, which always got over 35 per cent votes, could not even manage two per cent this time.
"Voters in Tripura were divided into two groups -- Left and anti-Left. Till a few days ago, Congress was the main opposition party but when people saw a nexus between the Congress and Communists they lost confidence and were looking for a party that could dislodge the state government. Finally, they found it in the BJP under Narendra Modi's leadership," Mr Burman told NDTV.
Unemployment is a major issue in the state that has nearly seven lakh jobless youth. "There has been infiltration of Bangladeshis who have got all Indian documents and even government jobs. We, the sons of the soil were left behind," said Shyamal Debbarma, a tribal.
And tapping into this sentiment is the BJP's ally -- Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT) -- that says it has not yet dumped its call for a separate tribal state.
"As a political party, IPFT will still demand a separate tribal state for the survival of the tribals," said IPFT president NC Debbarma.
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