March 13, 2018

Why did people of Tripura vote for BJP

Source: Quora

Even though I am not a political analyst, being from Tripura I can share couple of details.

The most remarkable job done by the previous Left Front Government was bringing in peace. I can proudly say, unlike any other NE State, Tripura is more or less the most peaceful of all. The state has also successfully achieved communal harmony, even though you may hear some sporadic and rare incidents between Tribal and Non- Tribal population.

Apart from this, the state could also achieve the tag of Highest Literacy Rate! It may be due to the fact that it is relatively easy to manage a small state (Tripura being the 3rd smallest state of the country).

Now coming to other facets.

Peace - done, Literacy - done.

What about employment? The state has the highest unemployment rate in the country. Except government job, there is rarely any other stable source of income. In search of a stable employment opportunity, the youth need to either move out of the state or open a small kirana Store near his/her home ( Kirana Stores are very common in the state).

Development in Tribal areas was a major factor. Among the 20 seats reserved for Tribals, 17 of those were won by BJP+ this year. Lack of proper and adequate drinking water facility, lack of proper transport facility, unemployment and poverty can be attributed to Left Front's loss in such areas.

The state has various higher education facilities like Agartala Government Medical College, Tripura Medical College, Tripura Paramedical college, NIT Agartala, Tripura University ( Central) to name a few. But after graduating from these colleges, the youth need to move out in search of better employment opportunities. The talent retention rate is extremely low.

Nepotism and favouritism is very common in Tripura. The teacher scam of around 10300 teachers is an outcome of this factor. The general trend is: if you are a party worker or a close associate of any local leader, then you will get a job! Even the Government transfers used to happen based on recommendations from local committee members. Nepotism/favouritism far outweighed merit!

There was also high level of discontentment among the Government employees. The employees are still receiving salary as per Fourth Pay Commission. This has been a long pending poll issue. The BJP on the other hand has promised to implement Seventh Pay Commission! So naturally, the voters will swing.

Even though the state boasts of two medical colleges, but the medical facilities are too limited. Patients frequently visit Kolkata, Chennai or Delhi for their treatment. Some may argue that super speciality facilities are available, but the public trust factor is too low! The government couldn't allay the fear factor of the patients. The health facilities in rural and remote areas are deplorable!

Lack of adequate public infrasructure was also another factor. Till 2016, the state was only connected by airways and bus transport. The state was brought into the map of Indian Railway network only in late 2016.

It is natural for any ruling political party to face the anti-incumbency factor, more so if the party has been ruling for more than 10 years. The state so far had no strong opposition or a party which could face the Left Front head on! The BJP could leverage the anti-incumbency factor very well which the earlier Congress Party couldn't. They could successfully project the party as a strong and able alternative. To add to it, there was complete and undivided support from the central BJP HQ this time. The frequency of high level public meetings, rallies, small local level meetings was way too high! For every rally of CPI (M) there used to be at least 3 rallies/meeting conducted by BJP. Such was the intensity! BJP and RSS had been working tirelessly in the remote tribal areas since 2015. Apart from this, the money and bureaucratic power of BJP overruled the muscle power of CPI(M).

To gauge the level of disconnect between the Left Front Leadership and the public, I'll cite an instance: I have been talking with various workers of CPI(M) since the day of results. They are in a mode of utter disbelief that this could even happen. They couldn't even comprehend how tirelessly BJP and RSS workers were working in the remote areas. Even the State Party President has expressed similar opinion in a Press Meet!

To sum it up, following are the reasons:

UnemploymentPovertyLow income level of Government employeesUnderdevelopment (health, infrasructure etc.)Nepotism and favouritismAnti-incumbencyTargeted and precise poll campaigningGain in Tribal areasMoney and bureaucratic power of BJP

I can see many answers citing Hindutva as an issue. Trust me, it was never a political issue, at least in Tripura. I am typing this answer sitting at Agartala. So far I couldn't hear/witness a single religious issue. It's pure performance of Left Front Leadership and anti-incumbency that led to the downfall of CPI (M).

Edit 1: Forgot to add this part. BJP workers at grassroot level is believed to have worked tirelessly to weed out at least 2 Lakh fake voters across various constituencies

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