New Delhi, March 3: Counting of votes for Tripura Assembly elections is underway and initial trends show an intense contest between the ruling CPI(M) the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). As of 9:45 AM, both the Left and the BJP were ahead on 28 seats each. Also Read - BJP's Troubleshooter, NE's Most Influential Politician Himanta Biswa Sarma to Take Oath as Assam CM Today

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Exit polls had predicted a comfortable win for the BJP, however, CM Manik Sarkar appears to be holding on to the Left’s fort strongly. The CPM (M) has been in power in Tripura since 1993 and the BJP had put in all its force during the campaigning. Sarkar is himself leading from Dhanpur seat. Also Read - BJP to Hold Nationwide Dharna on May 5 Against Widespread Violence Post Bengal Election Results

Senior CPI leader Brinda Karat appeared confident of Left’s win in the state. “We are very confident, let more rounds of counting complete, our leads are going to get much bigger,” Karat said.

On the other hand, the BJP too expressed the hope of forming the next government in Tripura. “I feel that in Tripura BJP is going to do very well In Nagaland too, our alliance is doing very well and Congress is trailing in Meghalaya. The three results of North East are going to be very good for BJP,” BJP’s Ram Madhav told reporters.

Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who was the BJP’s chief election strategist for Assembly elections in the three northeastern state, also appeared cofident of his party removing the Left from power in Tripura.

“Trends are encouraging, I am hopeful and confident that BJP will form the Govt in Tripura,” Sarma said.

According to the Election Commission, voting percentage was recorded at 89.8 per cent in Tripura. The state had recorded 93.61 percent voting in the 2013 Assembly election.

Counting is being held in 59 seats of the 60-strong Tripura assembly, as the CPI-M candidate for Charilam (Scheduled Tribe reserve) seat Ramendra Narayan Debbarma died a week before the polls. The countermanded polls to the constituency will be held on March 12