Bharatiya Janata Party has made an entry into Tripura Legislative Assembly. The development comes after six rebel Trinamool Congress legislators, who had joined the BJP in August, were given clearance by the Assembly speakers. Tripura Assembly speaker has said rebel MLAs’ candidature has been approved as no objection was raised from TMC side even after a notification was sent to them. In August, six MLAs had joined BJP in presence of a senior leader and Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and union minister of state for petroleum Dharmendra Pradhan. The six Trinamool Congress legislators are – Sudip Roy Barman, Diba Chandra Hrankhawal, Asish Saha, Pranjit Singha Roy, Dilip Sarkar and Biswa Bandhu Sen. These legislators had also taken along with them several thousand supporters when they marched from the Astabal Ground in Agartala to the Rabindra Shatabarshiki Bhavan to formally join the BJP.
The MLAs were originally elected to the Tripura state assembly in 2013 on Congress party tickets. However, they switched over to the Trinamool Congress in June 2016 leaving behind three others in the Congress legislature party. Ratan Lal Nath, one of the three remaining Congress legislators, has also expressed his support for the BJP after having voted for the NDA candidate along with the six TMC legislators during the recent Presidential election. “I see a sea of humanity in Agartala as six Trinamool MLAs join the BJP,” senior Assam minister and BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma had said earlier.
Later, Sarma had said that people of Tripura were ready to oust the Left Front government. Sarma also alleged that the law and order situation of Tripura was in a very bad shape, with crimes against women becoming the worst in the country. Apart from the latest development, there are reports that BJP is eyeing to strike a deal with Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) and Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT). The two organisations have been demanding a separate state of Twipraland, comprising tribal areas. A report had said that Sarma, who is also the convener of NEDA, is likely to hold talks with the two parties for formation of an alliance with the BJP for the Assembly elections.
BJP’s steady rise has hit the prospect of the TMC which has been trying to make inroads in the state, considered as the Left bastion. It has been learned that all was not well for the party in Tripura in the months since. “Banerjee came twice, and promised to do a lot for the party and people of Tripura. But there has been no change on the ground,” a TMC said, as per Indian Express report. In the recent bypolls to Khowai and Barjala (SC) seats, BJP had finished second on both seats. BJP spokesperson Mrinal Kanti Deb said that the bypolls made it clear that since 2014, saffron party is the only alternative to the Left in Tripura.