FROM A CORRESPONDENT
Agartala, August 19 : At least seven persons were hospitalised and many others sustained minor injuries when the CPI(M) and IPFT supporters clashed at Sim-Tamakari constituency of the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council where a by-election is scheduled to be held on August 23. The incident took place on Thursday evening when the supporters of both the parties were about to return home after completing the day’s campaign. Both the parties filed complaint about attacking their supporters where returning home at Sachia Bari area.
Though it is not clear from which side the provocation came first, the massage spread in the area and supporters of both the parties rushed to the spot and started attacking each other. A temporary office of the CPI(M) made for campaign purpose also was damaged.
Abhijit Saptarshi, Superintendent of Police, himself led a large contingent of police and brought the situation under control. However, tension is prevailing high as supporters of both the parties are roaming around in the area. Saptarshi admitted that tension is running high and is likely to go on escalating as the polling date is nearing.
By-election for Sim-Tamakari constituency became necessary due to the death of CPI(M) member Rabir Debbarma. Though seven candidates are in the fray, the main fight is going to be confined between the CPI(M) candidate Kumud Debbarma and the Indigenous tiolist Party of Tripura candidate Mangal Derbbarma.
The outcome will not affect the power position in the TTAADC in any way but the by-election is beingconsidered as determining indicator for future course of politics in the tribal areas of the state as both the BJP and the Trimool Congress have extended a silent support to the IPFT by not filing candidate for the election. The CPI(M) also considering the seat vulnerable as in the last election their candidate defeated his IPFT rival by a margin of only 509 votes and won only due to division in opposition vote as the INPT candidate got 2837 votes.
This time too the INPT is in the fray but most of its grass root level supporters have switched over their allegiance to IPFT, which the political observers feel, may change the political balance in the constituency. Non-filing of candidate by the BJP and TMC also will be an added advantage for them. rendra Chandra Debbarma, President of the IPFT said that the CPI(M) has already got the message that they are going to lose the seat and conspiring to manipulate the outcome. Attacking the IPFT workers in a desperate attempt in this direction, he said.
He also alleged that the ruling party is even using the State Election Commission as the date for polling has been fixed on August 23, knowing fully well that the IPFT observe separate state demand on this date every year. This year also they are going to organise a state level rally in Agartala. However, unperturbed by the ‘conspiracy’, the IPFT decided not to change their programme. ‘Our workers are ready to go for both, the rally and the election, said Debbarma.
The CPI(M) is aware that the area is domited by the anti-left voters and is living no stone unturned to retain the seat. It is being considered as challenge for the newly incarted leaders of the CPI(M)’s tribal wing the Tripura Upajati Gamukti Parisad.
As part of its plan to induct new blood, the GMP in its 21st conference held last month removed all the elders, who were in its helm for two decades and inducted younger leaders Jiten Choudhury, MP and the Cheif Executive Member of the TTAADC Radha Charan Debbarma as its president and secretary respectively.
Both the leaders took retaining Sim-Tamakari as a challenge and camping in the area. Radha Charan who, is holding 3 to 4 meetings everyday is confident about the victory of his party candidate. ‘The political scerio in the constituency has changed a lot since last election and our candidate will have a comfortable victory’, he said.