Crumbles in Tripura, BJP Scores Poriborton

Taking a giant leap in its Mission Northeast, the BJP today scored poriborton(change) in Tripura, ending the unchallenged rule of the Left and Manik Sarkar, reputed as India's poorest chief minister. The biggest story in the northeast elections - the first of a series of polls this year - is the demolition of four-time Chief Minister Manik Sarkar's almost impenetrable fortress in Tripura.

For a long time after counting began, the Left and the BJP were locked in a neck-and-neck battle. As the BJP surged ahead, Bihar BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi posted this update on social media: "CPM Tripura fort to crumble in next 1 hour." BJP workers wearing saffron caps and awash with saffron holi colours burst into celebrations on the roads of Agartala. Biplab Kumar Dev, a 48-year-old former gym instructor, is emerging as the BJP's top pick for chief minister.

The Left has ruled Tripura for the past 25 years and Manik Sarkar, 69, was chief minister for 20 of them. "It is a historic verdict. 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.