Agartala, March 6: Days after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in Tripura by dethroning the 25-year-old Left Front regime; the northeastern state is in the throes of violence on Tuesday. The BJP won 35 seats on its own, and 43 with its alliance partner, Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT), in the Tripura Assembly elections 2018, the results of which were declared on Saturday. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) managed to win just 16 seats in the 60-member Tripura Assembly.
The defeat of the Left in Tripura, considered to be one of its last two citadels (other being Kerala), has been termed as the ultimate decline of the communist parties in the country. The victory of the BJP in Tripura holds great symbolic significance as the right-wing party managed to defeat the Left in its own bastion. In a way, Tripura election battle was an ideological contest between the left and the right.
Since Monday, reports started pouring in about incidences of violence from various parts of the state. The CPI-M leaders alleged that several of their offices have been destroyed by BJP supporters. The BJP leaders too alleged about mayhem being created by Left workers. The allegations and counter-allegations by the BJP and the Left are reminders of the violent clashes witnessed on a frequent basis between the supporters of both the parties in Kerala.
However, what caught the attention of all was the razing down of a statue of Russian revolutionary leader and mascot of communism Vladimir Lenin at Belonia town in south Tripura. Belonia is just 90 kms away from Tripura's capital city, Agartala. Media reports say the statue of Lenin (equally worshipped and hated by many) was razed to the ground by bulldozers by alleged BJP workers. According to eyewitnesses, bulldozers allegedly brought in by BJP workers, demolished the statue amid chants of "Bharat Mata Ki Jai".
Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Monday spoke to state governor Tathagata Roy and DGP AK Shukla and asked them to ensure peace till a new government is installed, an official said. Section 144 has been imposed in several violence-affected areas in Tripura, according to ANI.
Condemning the violence in Tripura, CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury said that people of the state will give a reply to it. He added that violence in Tripura is an indication of the motives of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-BJP. "Apart from violence they have no political future," Yechury told ANI.
#Tripura mein jo hinsa ho rahi hai yeh sapasth hai ki RSS-BJP ka rujhan kya hai. Hinsa ke alawa unka rajneetik bhavishya kuch hai nahi. Tripura ki janta iska jawaab degi: Sitaram Yechury, CPI-M in Kolkata pic.twitter.com/LUuKzvrfWF— ANI (@ANI) March 6, 2018
The BJP has denied any role in the demolition of the Lenin statue or in any violent incidents in the state. Sunil Deodhar, the BJP's Tripura in-charge, told NDTV, "Those who did this are not party workers. They are common man."
The demolition of the statue of Lenin is seen as a "symbolic gesture", indicating the fall of the Left across the nation.
#Lenin— ॐ !nto!erantSou!🇮🇳 (@BlAcK_HeArttttt) March 6, 2018
Dismantling Lenin statues is a symbolic act that goes back to World War II, and continues through the present day; Collected here are photos of Lenin monuments from across the world. Thread 👇#TuesdayThoughts
Along with political parties blaming each other for the Tripura violence, Twitterati too is divided over whether destroying the statue of the Russian revolutionary was justified or not. While some social media users alleged that more people across the world died due to communism, others have lamented that "this is what happens when a far-right government comes to power".
Let the whole world see what India has become. This is what happens when a far-right govt comes to power. They despise what the Left stands for. History will not exonerate them. #Lenin https://t.co/LWhQxcamwr— Prerna Bakshi (@bprerna) March 5, 2018
Journalist Barkha Dutt stated that a "cultural war" is on in Tripura between the right and the left.
As BJP workers bring down a statue of #Lenin in Tripura here's my new @washingtonpost column on why a tiny state came to be a symbol of India's Culture Wars- a war the Right is winning, under Modi https://t.co/ktiSTDWQTh— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) March 6, 2018
Many said that violence in Tripura is a blot on democracy and rise of fascism. Some Twiterrati called Lenin their "hero" too.
Removal of Lenin Statue is a big set back to the Democracy. How can BJP order to remove someone's Statue who is a Role Model for Millions of Indians? He will still be alive within us.#Lenin— Lenin (@nLenin02) March 5, 2018
- (File Pic) pic.twitter.com/CUErhCh3Ar
In less than 48 hours of getting elected in #Tripura, #BJP pulls down #Lenin's statue, installed by a democratically elected govt— shama mohamed (@drshamamohd) March 6, 2018
This reminds me of the #Taliban blowing up the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afganisthan.
True colours of fascists !
As the BJP's clout is growing with each election, many fear that next to the statues of Mahatma Gandhi and others from the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty would be targeted by the right-wing groups.
Some supporters of the BJP criticised those who protested against the demolition of the statue. One Twitter user questioned the relevance of the statue in Tripura.
Statue Of Lenin Destroyed With Chants Of "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" In #Tripura. What Was This Russian Terrorist's Statue Doing On Pious Land Of India? To Fuel Red Terror? Good Riddance. Burnol Moment For Jihadi Commies & Leftist Libtards. 💪🙏🇮🇳#Leninpic.twitter.com/Mm8sIMhbI9— Sir Ravindra Jadeja (@SirJadeja) March 5, 2018
As the debate over the demolition of the statue continues, one fact is clear that even if India wants to vote out the Left from power such contempt and ferocity against anybody reduces us to a bunch of fascists.
#Lenin must fall. But if he falls by the use of Lenin’s methods, then Lenin wins. No?— Kunal Singh (@d_extrovert) March 5, 2018