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12-hour shutdown called by Congress against Tripura govt evokes mixed response

The 12-hour shutdown called by the Opposition Congress against the Tripura government's alleged misgovernance and failure to curb Covid-19 spread evoked a mixed response in the state on Monday.

Tripura

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  22 Sep 2020 4:33 AM GMT

In some places, Congress and BJP workers clashed, injuring several members on both sides. Some policemen were also hurt...

AGARTALA: The 12-hour shutdown called by the Opposition Congress against the Tripura government's alleged misgovernance and failure to curb Covid-19 spread evoked a mixed response in the state on Monday.

Social distancing and other COVID-19 restrictions were blatantly violated as huge gatherings of bandh supporters and ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers were seen in many places across the State.

Police officials said that around 1,000 Congress workers and leaders were detained from different places for picketing in support of the shutdown, called to highlight the 12-point demands.

Tripura Pradesh Congress Committee President Pijush Biswas claimed that the shutdown was "total and spontaneous" while BJP leader Alok Bhattacharjjee said that the people had "rejected" the strike.

"In some places, Congress and BJP workers clashed, injuring several members on both sides. Some policemen were also injured in Agartala and Kailashahar (in northern Tripura) while controlling the mobs," a police official said in Agartala.

Police said the situation was normal in many places and government and semi-government offices, markets and business establishments were functioning as usual.

However, a large number of private and public vehicles remained off the road, causing hardships to the commuters.

Biswas said that the Congress leaders wanted to meet Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb to appraise him of the crisis and demands of the people but he was yet to respond.

"The BJP government totally failed to meet thte basic needs of the people, including drinking water, rural jobs, and education. Total lawlessness prevails in the state ever since the BJP government has come to power in March 2018," he told the media.

He alleged that with 1.11 per cent fatality rate and 70.16 per cent recovery rate, Tripura is worst among 8 north-eastern states in COVID-19 management.

"The BJP government in Tripura has been a total failure in COVID-19 management, whereas the community transmission of the virus is rampant in the state," Biswas claimed.

Senior Congress leader Gopal Roy said that attacks on Opposition party workers, journalists and even the common people had become a regular affair in Tripura, while increasing unemployment, sufferings of the poor and betrayal with 10,323 ex-government schoolteachers have been reflected in Monday's successful strike.

Earlier, Former Tripura State Congress chief and ex-Minister Birajit Sinha alleged that the BJP government had not only totally failed in COVID management but the Chief Minister and the ruling party leaders were arrogant.

The ruling BJP, however, rejected the Opposition's accusation and blamed them for not following the government's COVID norms.

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Tripura State secretary Gautam Das said that Tripura is the only State in India where there is no full-fledged Health Minister; and the Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb has been holding as many as 28 departments, including Health and Family Welfare Department.

"Frustrated over the government's mismanagement, Additional Chief Secretary in-charge of Health and Family Welfare Department Sanjay Kumar Rakesh, Health Director Radha Debbarma and many other senior officials have either applied for voluntary retirement or have already left their jobs. Despite huge shortages of doctors and health staff, the BJP government did not recruit any Health workers including nurses during the past two-and-a-half years," Das told the media.

Das, who is also the member of the CPI-M central committee, said that the State government did not even share the correct and updated COVID information with the High Court, which has recently, took a suo-moto case and raised 13 points to the government.

"After thousands of people returned to Tripura from different parts of the country in May and June, Tripura government tested their sample 5 : 1 ratio - one sample tested out of five returnees — causing huge spread of the dreaded virus. With 1.12 per cent fatality, Tripura is in the worst position among the eight north-eastern States in COVID-19 death ratio while its recovery rate of 67.50 per cent also very low," the Left leader said.

BJP spokesman Nabendu Bhattacharjee said that the people rejected Left parties in Tripura in 2018 Assembly polls and both the CPI-M and the Congress made false charges. "After the BJP government came to power, many new departments were set up in Tripura hospitals and many specialists were recruited on numerous diseases. When lakhs of people are dying due to COVID-19 in China and other developed countries, these two parties remain silent," he told the media.

Bhattacharjee said putting their lives at risk, BJP's Lok Sabha member Pratima Bhowmik and many of the party functionaries were providing services to needy people and many BJP workers had died after suffering from coronavirus. (IANS)

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