New Delhi: The reds are on the march in Tripura once again. The CPI-M has retained power in the state for a fourth consecutive term, this time with an even more emphatic victory.
The Congress had its top leadership — including Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh — to campaign in the state, but the Left's support base remained untouched.
"Where we are in power, anti-incumbency doesn't work. In fact what works is pro-incumbency," CPI (M) politburo member Sitaram Yechury said in his first reaction on the verdict in Tripura.
But the Congress had reasons to smile in Meghalaya. In a state which has seen 18 governments in 36 years, the party finished a couple of seats short of a clear majority, improving its performance from 2003.
The real setback was for the NCP, whose leader PA Sangma's dream of coming to power was shattered by an impressive show of the Congress.
With Sangma finishing a poor third, the focus now shifts to the battle for the chief ministership within the Congress with at least half-a-dozen aspirants vying for the post.
While the Congress celebrates in Shillong and the Left in Tripura, the Northeast seems to have given some indications that its voters want stability and continuity, which is a marked departure from the anti-incumbency politics that has marked state elections in other parts of the country.
"We have proved to the people that the people of Meghalaya are satisfied with the government of the Congress in the last five years," Meghalaya State Congress President O L Nongtdu
(With Deborshi Chaki in Shillong and Smita Nair in Delhi)