Tripura is governed through a parliamentary system of representative democracy, a feature it shares with other Indian states. Universal suffrage is granted to residents. The Tripura government has three branches: executive, legislature and judiciary. The Tripura Legislative Assembly consists of elected members and special office bearers that are elected by the members.
Tripura sends two representatives to the Lok Sabha and one representative to the Rajya Sabha. Panchayats elected by local body elections are present in many villages for self-governance. Tripura also has a unique tribal self-governance body, the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council. This council is responsible for some aspects of local governance in 527 villages with high density of the scheduled tribes.
The main political parties are the Left Front and the Indian National Congress. Until 1977, the state was governed by the Indian National Congress. The Left Front was in power from 1978 to 1988, and then again from 1993 onwards. During 1988–1993, the Congress and Tripura Upajati Juba Samiti were in a ruling coalition. In the last elections held in February 2013, the Left Front won 50 out of 60 seats in the Assembly, 49 of which went to the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM). As of 2013, Tripura is the only state in India where the communist party is in power. Formerly, two more states—West Bengal and Kerala—had democratically elected communist governments.
Communism in the state had its beginnings in the pre-independence era, inspired by freedom struggle activities in Bengal, and culminating in regional parties with communist leanings. It capitalised on the tribal dissatisfaction with the mainstream rulers, and has been noted for connection with the “sub-national or ethnic searches for identity”. Since the 1990s, there is an ongoing irredentist Tripura rebellion, involving militant outfits such as the National Liberation Front of Tripura and the All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF); terrorist incidents incidents involving the ATTF claimed a recorded number of 389 victims in the seven-year period of 1993 to 2000.