The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left Front that stormed back to power in Tripura assumed office Monday for the fourth term in a row, with the veteran Manik Sarkar at the helm as chief minister.
Governor Dinesh Nandan Sahaya administered the oath of office and secrecy to the 59-year-old Marxist leader and 11 others at a function at the Raj Bhavan here.
Sarkar, who first become the chief minister March 11, 1998, scripted history in Tripura by becoming the chief executive for a record third term. His predecessors - Sachindra Lal Singh (1963-1972) and Nripen Chakraborty (1978-1988) - held two terms each heading the Congress and Left Front government respectively.
A CPI-M politburo member, Sarkar retained his Dhanpur seat in west Tripura, defeating his Congress rival Shah Alam by 2,918 votes.
Besides Sarkar, the others who took oath Monday are Anil Sarkar, Badal Chowdhury, Aghore Debbarma, Tapan Chakraborty, Manik Dey, Jitendra Chowdhury, Khagendra Jamatia, Sahid Chowdhury, Bijita Nath, Joy Gobinda Deb Roy and Manindra Reang.
There were two first timers in Sarkar's council of ministers-- Bijita Nath, the lone woman minister in the 12-member council of ministers, and Joy Gobinda Debroy.
CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat, his wife and Politburo member Brinda Karat, state committee secretary Baidyanath Majumder, senior party leaders and top officials attended the 40-minute function.
The opposition Congress-Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) alliance boycotted the swearing-in-ceremony, alleging "widespread post poll violence in various parts of the state".
"We shall continue our efforts to uplift the standard of living of the people, specially those living below the poverty line and make Tripura a model state in the country," Sarkar told journalists after the swearing in ceremony.
The Left Front has been in power in Tripura since 1978, barring one term, 1988-1993.
The CPI-M-led Left Front Friday pulled off an emphatic victory, winning 49 seats in the 60-member legislature and routing the main opposition Congress, which secured only 10 seats while its poll partner INPT bagged only one seat.
In the assembly election in 2003, the Left Front won in 41 seats followed by the Congress (13) and its ally INPT (six).
Three women, the highest number so far, have been elected to the 10th Tripura assembly - all belonging to the CPI-M. The 60-member house will see 15 new faces, of which 12 are from the Left Front.
The CPI-M lost two seats - Kamalpur in Dhalai district and Badarghat in West Tripura district - as Left Front ally Forward Bloc cut into its vote share. It fielded its own candidates in 12 constituencies for the first time following a dispute with the dominant partner over seat sharing.
Congress candidates in Kamalpur and Badarghat defeated state Handloom and Handicrafts Minister Bijoy Laxmi Sinha and legislator Subrata Chakraboty respectively after Forward Bloc candidates cornered a chunk of CPI-M votes.
The Left Front secured over 51.18 percent votes while the Congress-INPT alliance got 42 percent.
Of the 20 seats reserved for tribals, 19 were bagged by the CPI-M while one went to INPT. The Left party won all the seven seats reserved for Scheduled Castes.