By Sujit Chakraborty
The Left-Congress alliance for the West Bengal assembly polls had badly hit Left-ruled Tripura’s main opposition Congress, which is heading for a vertical split, political pundits say.
“After the announcement of results of Bengal and Assam assembly elections on May 19, a clear cut picture in Tripura politics would emerge. The dissident Congress leaders are restlessly waiting for the outcome of the results in the two states,” veteran political alyst Tapas Dey told IANS.
“The central leaders of the Congress are also firm on their decision to take action against dissident leaders but they too are waiting for the May 19 outcome. The action of the central leaders against them would depend on the next steps of the rebel party leaders,” Dey added.
Protesting against the Congress’ tie-up with the Left in West Bengal, many top Congress leaders, including legislature party leader Sudip Roy Barman, the leader of opposition in the Tripura assembly, have quite their posts.
The other senior leaders who have quit include state Congress working president Ashish Saha, women’s front chief Kalyani Roy, state Youth Congress supremo Sushanta Chowdhury and scheduled caste front head Prakash Chandra Das, besides 32 block presidents.
A show cause notice issued by Congress general secretary in-charge of northeastern states V. rayanswami also failed to deter Barman as he stood by his position.
The Congress Legislature Party (CLP) remained without any leader after Barman left the post on April 7.
The AICC last week appointed senior legislator Gopal Roy as the leader of the CLP after Barman quit. However, Tripura assembly speaker Ramendra Chandra Debth, in a letter to Tripura Congress president Birajit Sinha, said that he was uble to appoint Roy as opposition leader as six of the 10 Congress legislators, led by Barman, had in writing opposed Roy for the position.
The local media is rife with reports that the disgruntled Congress leaders might form a new party or join the Bharatiya Jata Party (BJP) or Trimool Congress (TMC) of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
“If the BJP comes to power in Assam, the dissident Congress leaders might join the party or if TMC retained power in Bengal, they may possibly join the party. There are also chances the disgruntled leaders will form a new anti-Left party ,” observed Dey, himself a former Congress legislator. “Previously many Congress leaders left the party in Tripura and elsewhere in the country, but later returned after realising their mistake,” he added.
Top BJP and TMC leaders are maintaining a studied silence on the issue.
Barman, in his resigtion letter to party supremo Sonia Gandhi, said: “In spite of your understanding of the CPI-M’s unpredictable character, its treacherous role in the past, anti-tiol thinking and activities and the immense barbaric atrocities upon Congressmen in West Bengal, Tripura and Kerala, you have given the nod to this so called alliance/seat adjustments.”
The Congress leader said the party’s alliance with the Left Front in Bengal would have a far-reaching political impact at the tiol level.
Barman’s father and former Tripura chief minister Samir Ranjan Barman, who was also the state Congress president, has also openly criticised the party’s central leaders for the Left-Congress pact.
There are some media reports that some members of the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) had quit in protest against the Left-Congress tie-up.
“These media reports are totally false as some members of party were expelled and might have joined other parties,” CPI-M leader Amal Chakraborty told IANS. “Very frequently, many local Congress leaders join CPI-M but this is not related to the political developments in Bengal,” he added. Meanwhile, Birajit Sinha and some other party leaders have said they would abide by the central leadership’s decision on the alliance with the Left parties. “We would abide by central leaderships’ decision on the Congress-Left tie up. Some Congress leaders’ resigtions are unfortute,” Sinha, a sitting lawmaker and former state minister, told IANS.