After Manipur, can Tripura be the new BJP bastion?

After Manipur, can Tripura be the new BJP bastion?

AGARTALA: It seems that  the political parties have begun to beat drums in Tripura much ahead of the Assembly elections scheduled for next year.

The results of the recently concluded Assembly elections in five states have established Bharatiya Janata Party dominance in three states – Uttar Pradesh, Manipur and Goa.

BJP has already formed its government in Northeast India’s Assam and Arunachal Pradesh and about to form government in Manipur with swearing-in ceremony of Nongthombam Biren Singh as Chief Minister, the party is now eyeing to grip its power in four other NE states – Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram that would go for polls in 2018.

When the BJP were immersed in playing victory-Holi, a clash between them and TMC marred the occasion on last Monday.

Both the opposition parties – BJP Trinamool Congress are trying to play to the minds of the voters accusing the CPI (M) for triggering the political violence occurred in the capital city on Monday that left 20 injured including 11 policemen, six political men of both the parties and two scribes, to restrain the growth of the opposition parties.

Interestingly, TMC MLA Sudip Roy Barman’s elder brother Sandip Roy Barman is the prime accused in the violence. Sandip, a non-political person was arrested with arms, Bangladesh currency and letter heads of National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) around 15 days before the state went for Assembly polls in 2013.

BJP blamed the CPM had masterminded the violence with the aid of Trinamool Congress to curb the expansion of BJP-wave in the state after landslide victory of the party in the recent Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.

Few days ago, the BJP had organized civil disobedience movement followed by a massive rally in the city demanding CBI to probe into the alleged murder of their party leader in Gandacherra.

“The Marxist now is in trauma seeing BJP’s victory in Uttar Pradesh elections and entry in the northeast. Manipur is the third state in the northeast after Assam and Arunachal Pradesh to form BJP-led government. Out of fear, the Marxist had masterminded the clash between BJP and Trinamool Congress supporters that even injured many of our activists including vice-president Subal Bhowmik. It became understood with the police administration’s role as mute spectator when the latter agitated infront of the police,” BJP Tripura observer Sunil Deodhar said.

Talking in the same line, BJP president Biplab Kumar Deb accused the Trinamool Congress as the mask of ‘Barman family’ saying the TMC is ‘Barman party.’

“The Barman family had dominated the Congress once and now they are doing the same thing after coming to Trinamool Congress. The family has an age-old understanding with the Marxists due to which the latter is still in power in Tripura. We would soon launch movement throughout the state to reveal the fact to the voters. However, we also demand Sandip Roy Barman to be arrested soon,” Deb said.

On the contrary, the TMC MLA gave counter allegation accusing BJP for the violence and stressed it was CPI (M) who will be encouraged from the clash between these two anti-left parties. ” Our fight is against the Marxist not BJP. The Left will be encouraged if the opposition parties fight with each other. We should try to stop of division of anti-left votes,” Roy Barman said.

After the six MLAs joined TMC, a section of party leaders became back-benchers as Sudip Roy Barman and his companions came to the limelight. Asish Saha who joined the party with Roy Barman was made the chief depriving the veteran leaders who were associated with the party since its root in the state. Ex-chief Surajit Datta resigned and joined hands with BJP.

In the last two Assembly by-polls after demonetization, to everyone’s surprise, BJP came second in Barjala seat (earlier Congress-dominated). A senior leader of TMC claimed that their position was good before the polls, but the voters shifted their support to BJP due to the six new entrants in the TMC.

Perhaps to maintain its status, Roy Barman now placed his focus not to split the anti-left votes.

BJP’s results in the last few elections:

Barjala and Khowai Assembly by-polls:

BJP got second position in Barjala Assembly by-election on November , 2016 by gaining total 12395 votes and came third in Khowai seat scoring 2528 votes. CPM won the Barjala seat with a margin of 3,500 votes and 16,800 votes in khowai seat.

Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) polls:

A unique political situation has emerged in the state for the first time in the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) elections held on May 3 in 2015

While the main opposition congress failed to make a mark in any of the 28 seats, the Bharatiya Janata Party emerged second in many of the constituencies. Similarly, the tribal-based political party – Indigeneous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) also made a mark in the elections.

BJP bagged second position in five seats whereas, the IPFT‘s position was second in almost 16 seats.

Despite emerging as victorious for the third consecutive terms, the Left Front scored less than 50 percent votes in five seats out of total 28 seats. The percentage was 64 in the last election.

By-poll in Pratapgarh and Surma constituency:

The BJP had emerged second in the by-poll in two Assembly constituencies – Pratapgarh and Surma held on June 27 in 2015, surpassing the Congress who used to be the main opposition party.

CPI (M) candidate for Pratapgarh seat – Ramu Das defeated his nearest BJP rival Mousumi Das by a record poll margin of 17,326 votes.

Das bagged total 27,755 votes and the BJP candidate got total 10,299 votes. The Congress secured 5,187 votes thus came third.

Likewise, another Marxist candidate fielded for the Surma Assembly seat – Anjan Das got total 23,274 votes, thus beating BJP candidate Asish Das by 15,309 votes. Asish bagged 7,966 votes. However, the Congress managed to get 2,495 votes.

 Civic polls:

In civic polls conducted on December 2015, the BJP secured 4 seats in North and Unakoti District, two councils each. That was the first time; the saffron party had opened their account.

Of the total 310 seats in the elections, the Left candidates bagged 291 seats with Congress securing 13 seats, 4 seats by Bharatiya Janata Party and rest two seats by independent candidates.

The Congress proved to be the real loser for being unable to mark any gain this time as they got four less seats than the last civic elections.

It was believed that a major vote of Congress was shared by the BJP due to which they lost in most of the seats.

Though BJP fared considerable well in last by-elections and Autonomous District Council elections than the Congress, they came third in the civic polls across the state. However, they stood second in five municipal councils and two seats in one nagar panchayat sparing nil chance for the main opposition Congress.

ADC’s Village Council elections:

In ADC’s Village Council elections held in February last, Of the total 3,695 seats of 528 Village Councils, the Left Front secured 2939 seats followed by 339 seats by IPFT, 197 seats by Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) , 91 seats by Congress, 75 seats by Bharatiya Janata Party.

By Priyanka Deb Burman

priyankadb27@gmail.com




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