The Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah reached arrived in Agartala on Saturday afternoon for his two-day visit of Tripura, reported news agency ANI. With this trip, Shah, who has been the mastermind behind BJP’s recent surge in the country aims to lay the groundwork for the party’s expansion in the northeastern state which is being ruled by the Left for the last 19 years. The senior party leader is likely to flag alleged lack of development of the state under the Left government and violence against his party workers, reported news agency PTI.
Since Tripura has only two Lok Sabha seats, it is not of much importance as far as the 2019 Lok Sabha elections are considered but Shah’s trip becomes important keeping in mind next year’s state assembly elections, according to the agency. The BJP chief, known for his aggressive brand of politics, was instrumental in salvaging Goa for the party earlier this year when it had finished second after Congress in the assembly election, and neither party got a majority.
Shah is believed to the man who despatched Union minister Nitin Gadkari to cobble together a majority with the help of smaller regional parties and managed to form a BJP-led government in the tiny coastal state. Having made his vision clear to expand party’s roots in Northeast, Shah’s next target could be Tripura. Having forfeited security deposit in 47 of the 50 seats it contested in Tripura in the 2013 assembly election, the BJP has increased its vote share and its candidates finished second to winning CPI-M nominees in three by-polls held there since.
The Bharatiya Janata Party leaders have claimed that the party has emerged as the principal challenger to the Left and pointed to the recent defection of a top Trinamool Congress leader and some others to the party. “The BJP has emerged as a strong alternative in the state. It is seen by people as a symbol of development and hope as the state has witnessed no progress and the Left has used organised violence to target us,” its national media head Anil Baluni said.