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Tripura polls: Can it herald a political change?

Tripura polls: Can it herald a political change?

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  10 May 2019 3:39 AM GMT

This is for the first time the royal palace has asserted itself to capture political power

A Correspondent

AGARTALA: Polling for two parliamentary seats in Tripura is over. Generally, the parliamentary elections in this State is a low-key affair but this time it was the most intensely-contested one and comparable only with another held more than four decades ago in 1977. There are many differences but at least one similarity is there. Both the elections witnessed a tri-cornered contest and raised a question if it would herald a change in the political design of the State.

The outcome of the 1977 election could not signal any major change in the political design of the State but subsequent developments totally altered it. Let us see what message the ongoing election may have?

In 1977, a Congress For Democracy (CFD) candidate Sachindra Lal Singha narrowly defeated his nearest rival Tarit Mohon Dasgupta of Congress while CPI(M) candidate Nripen Chakraborty finished as a distant third. In East Tripura constituency, it was almost a direct fight and Kirit Bikram Kishor Debbarman of the Congress defeated his nearest rival Dasarath Deb of CPI(M) by a comfortable margin.

The outcome had no signal of a change in the State’s long-standing political characteristic of a Congress-Communist divide but the subsequent developments made the Left a dominant force and drove the Congress into the back seat for a long time. This time what is in store is yet to be clear. We can analyse the objective conditions that made this election different from all the previous ones.

This time, the election is going to be remarkable for more than one reason. Firstly, this election was preceded by a distinct change in the known political design of the State – the emergence of the BJP as a major political power and this is for the first time a parliamentary election was held when neither the Congress nor the CPI(M) is in power. Secondly, this is for the first time the BJP becomes one of the main contenders in a parliamentary election in the State.

What makes this election more distinguished and remarkable is the role of the royal palace.

Since the State’s merger with Union of India, this is for the first time the royal palace has asserted to capture the political power. The royal family members like Kirit Bikram Kishor Debbarman and Bibhu Kumari Devi earlier contested the elections but only as Congress candidate. The royal identity might have helped them to gain a few more votes but they were aspiring only to be a member of Parliament and never tried to capture political power of the State. This is for the first time that the Royal Palace led by Pradyot Bikram Kishor and his sister Pragya Debbarman have asserted to capture political power. Though under the cover of Congress, the entire campaign for the election was directed to accumulate peoples’ support behind the States’ royal past. It was further vindicated by Pradyot Kishor’s repeated assertion of his non-existent ‘Bubagra’ (King in Kokborok language) identity and slogans like ‘Puila Jati Ula Party’ (First nation than party).

There are many instances in annals of history when dethroned royalty attempted to recapture their lost power and the instant one is not different from that. However, there is a difference as the royal family of Tripura made this attempt through the democratic way.

Whatever may be the outcome of this election it can be presumed that the mission Pradyot Bikram Kishor and his sister have undertaken will continue for some time more.

This election also will give some direction about the future course of State’s tribal politics which for a long time was confined between the Communists and some regional political parties.

Also read: Tripura news

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