AGARTALA: Election tempo is gaining ground in the State with both the parliamentary seats, Tripura West and Tripura East (ST), is all set to witness a multi-corner contest. The ruling BJP is fighting for both the seats while in absence of any alliance, the Opposition parties seems a scattered lot.
The BJP has fielded its State secretary Pratima Bhaumik as its candidate in the West Tripura constituency to challenge the sitting MP and CPI(M) candidate Shankar Prasad Datta. This seat also has two other major contestants – Subal Bhaumik of Congress and Brishaketu Debbarma, currently an MLA of IPFT.
Though a partner in the BJP-led coalition that is running the government, the IPFT is fighting this election separately due to difference over certain issues; especially their demand for a separate State Twipraland.
Though the BJP and IPFT were at loggerheads apparently, many feel, fighting the election separately is a decision based on mutual understanding. It is an arrangement to prevent the emotion created among tribals against the proposed Citizenship Amendment Bill, which is largely going against BJP, to go in favour of other Opposition parties, especially the Congress or its ally the INPT.
BJP and IPFT leaders feel, if the IPFT remains in the fray with its ultra pro-tribal slogans it will effectively prevent tribal voters to align themselves with other political parties. They also believe it has effectively frustrated the Congress’ move to extract gain by making Royal scion Pradyot Bikram Kishor Debbarman the Pradesh Congress president and his sister Pragya Debbarman as party candidate in the East Tripura seat.
The Congress made Subal Bhawmik party candidate for West Tripura constituency within three days after the former vice-president of the BJP State committee defected from the Hindutva party for not getting a nomination.
In Tripura East (ST reserve) constituency, candidate Jiten Choudhury, a sitting MP known for his organizational abilities and performance in the Parliament, definitely is an asset for CPI(M). Congress candidate Pragya Debbarman using the emotion involved with her royal past, especially among the tribals, is trying to be a counterweight to Jiten Choudhury. But the fact remains that this old equation of Congress-CPM has totally changed after the emergence of BJP as a force in the State.
The reality is that, the BJP being in power is the strongest contender in this election. Though Rebati Tripura, the BJP candidate, is not very well known in the constituency, the newly found zeal among the party workers is the biggest asset for him. The Revenue Minister of the State Narendra Chandra Debbarma, is contesting the election as an IPFT candidate. He both has neither the prospect nor the willingness to win and as discussed above, is contesting the election with very limited purpose.
Considering the history of the State politics, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) was suppose to be the main contestant to the BJP. But this no more exists in view of the changes taken place during last one year. The BJP graph is maintaining a high position for the last several years while the Congress also got some impetus by winning several States. On the other hand, the CPI(M)’s graph is only showing a declining trend which naturally have a demoralizing affect on its workers.
The condition stands: the CPI(M) despite having an organizational base is yet to overcome the demoralization following the defeat in the State Assembly election after a long 25 years. On the other hand, the Congress despite rejuvenated in the national level, is sulking here due to organizational weaknesses and some other factors.
Also read: Tripura news