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Congress goes missing, as Left, BJP fight to win Tripura polls

By Oneindia

Agartala, Feb 5: The northeastern state, Tripura, has long been the bastion of the Left. In fact, Kerala and Tripura are the only two states in India where the Left is in power; otherwise the communist parties have been completely wiped out of India.

As the Left tries to save Tripura from slipping away from its hands amid growing clout of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), strangely in the poll-bound state the Congress takes a backstage.

congress hands

The elections in the state are scheduled on February 18. The two other northeastern states--Meghalaya and Nagaland are also going to polls in February. The Assembly elections in Nagaland and Meghalaya are slated on February 27.

The election results of all the three northeastern states will be declared on March 3. All the three states have 60-member assemblies.

Political experts say the upcoming Assembly election in Tripura is going to witness a fight between the CPM-led Left Front and the BJP. The state had in the past witnessed an electoral battle between the CPM and the Congress.

Sudip Roy Burman, former state Congress president and an MLA who had joined the BJP, said, "The Congress was not serious about fighting the CPI(M)" and claimed that the BJP would defeat the Marxists in the Assembly poll.

Burman, who headed the state Congress in 2013 Assembly election, told PTI, "In 2013, the CPI(M) had faced strong anti-incumbency but the Congress central leadership had helped the CPM in the state clandestinely for enjoying the party's support in Parliament".

CPM politburo member Prakash Karat also admitted that this time it is a contest between the Left Front and the BJP in the February election.

"All the earlier elections in the state were fought between the Left Front and the Congress but this time, it is a contest between the BJP and the Left Front as Congress leaders and supporters had joined the saffron party", Karat had stated at an election meeting in South Tripura on Friday.

Six Congress MLAs including Burman had crossed over to the BJP. "We are forced to join the BJP as we found that the Congress is not serious about fighting the CPM", Burman said.

Tripura Congress vice-president, Tapas Dey said, "A communal party like the BJP became so strong in the state due to the misrule and partisan behaviour of the CPM".

The CPM never fulfilled the justified demands of the people, he said and alleged, "The CPM has a vindictive attitude towards people who do not support them." CPM spokesperson Gautam Das said, Tripura is a model state in the country in terms of development.

"The pro-people programmes of the Left Front government, especially for the poor and the working class, would bring it back to power," he said.

To garner the tribal vote which constituted around 31 percent in the state, the BJP has stitched an alliance with the Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT).

"The alliance between the BJP and the IPFT will make a strong impact in the 20 tribal reserve constituencies," said Mrinal Kanti Deb, BJP spokesperson.

Karat had, however, alleged that the IPFT is the mask of insurgents, who had killed people of the state a decade-and- a-half ago. The BJP forging an alliance with such a party was tantamount to "sedition", the senior CPM leader had said.

That the BJP is very serious in wresting power from the CPM is evident from the list of its star campaigners like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, home minister Rajnath Singh, BJP president Amit Shah and a galaxy of party leaders who will campaign for party candidates in Tripura.

Cautioning the people in the state, Karat had said, "The Assembly election in the state is important not only for Tripura, but for entire India, as it would show which way the country would move".

Amid all these politically-charged statements made by the top leadership of the BJP and the Left, Congress president Rahul Gandhi's deafening silence over Tripura polls speaks volumes about the grand old party's lost ground in the northeastern state.

Tripura Assembly
Party 2013 Current Standing  
CPIM 49 50 Election Date : Feb 18 2018
Counting : Mar 03 2018
CONG 10 02
CPI 01 01
BJP 00 06
OTHERS 00 00
Total 60 59 (1 Vacant)

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