Agartala: The ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) led Left Front was on Thursday set to retain power for the fifth straight term in Tripura.

The Left Front was leading in 44 seats while the opposition Congress-INPT (Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura) alliance was ahead in six seats in the initial rounds of counting of ballots for the 60-member house.

Chief Minister Manik Sarkar was heading for victory from Dhaunpur in west Tripura while Finance Minister Badal Chowdhury and other cabinet colleagues were also leading against their Congress nominees.

The Congress candidates who were ahead were state party chief Sudip Roy Barman and opposition leader Ratan Lal Nath in the Agartala and Mohanpur constituencies in western Tripura, respectively.

Highlights of Tripura Assembly Elections

Total seats: 60
Total candidates: 249
Total electorate: 2,355,446

Prominent candidates: Manik Sarkar, Badal Chowdhury, Manik Dey, Anil Sarkar, Sudip Ray Barman, Samir Ranjan Burman

The northeastern state of Tripura made electoral history when a record 93.57 percent of the 2.3 million electorate exercised their franchise in the February 14 election.

Thursday's result of counting of ballots would decide the political fate of 249 candidates, including 15 women and many independents in 60 seats of the state assembly."Counting of ballots have been under way in 60 halls in 17 venues simultaneously since 8 AM. Final results are likely to be out by afternoon," Tripura chief electoral officer Ashutosh Jidal said.

The Left Front has been in power since 1978, barring one term during 1988 to 1993. In the last elections in 2008, the Left registered a thumping victory. The CPI-M alone won 46 seats and partners Communist Party of India and Revolutionary Socialist Party secured one and two seats respectively. The Congress bagged 10 seats and the INPT one.

(Agencies)

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