The Guardian August 25, 1999


India:
Left Front wins big victory in Tripura

The Left Front, led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist), won a 
resounding victory in last month's three-tiered local government 
(panchayat) elections in the state of Tripura. The Left Front was 
victorious in nearly 90 percent of the panchayats.

In the two top tiers, the four zila parishads and the 23 panchayat 
samities, the Left Front was victorious in each of them. In the panchayat 
samities the CPI(M) has an absolute majority in its own right.

In the previous elections in 1994, Congress, the party of the rural 
bourgeoisie, won a substantial number of the rural panchayats. But this 
time, the Left Front was able to wrest almost all of them from Congress.

In fact, of 537 panchayats, the CPI(M) won 475 and Congress 50, with a tie 
in 12.

The elections were marked by extremist attacks on Left Front activists and 
leaders before the polls. Some were killed and others beaten, and one Left 
Front candidate was abducted. These terrorist tactics failed to intimidate 
either the Left Front or the voters.

The CPI(M) state secretariat saluted the rural people of Tripura for "once 
again giving a massive mandate to the Left Front to carry forward its 
policies and programs in favour of democracy and development at the 
grassroots level all over the state.

"The massive and spirited participation of women is another positive 
outcome of these polls and will lead to greater empowerment of women", the 
CPI(M) said.

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