Tripura BJP chief Biplab Deb has said the Modi government will act like a “father figure” to help the poor state stand on its feet and fulfil the party’s campaign promises, if the party comes to power. He accused the Left Front of running a “Sarkar’s sarkar” — a reference to Chief Minister Manik Sarkar — and not people’s ‘sarkar’ (government), leading to high unemployment rate and lack of development. Expressing confidence that his party would win the election, Deb told PTI that a BJP government would make the state self-reliant in five years. Though the BJP has not announced a chief ministerial candidate, the youthful Deb (46) is seen by many as its likely choice for the top post if it gets better of the CPI(M), which has been in power in the tiny northeastern state for 25 years, in the elections scheduled for February 18.
Asked how a BJP government will fulfil its expensive promises such as implementing the 7th Central Pay Commission recommendations for state government employees, whose salary is at present as per the Fourth Pay Commission, and giving smart phones to the youth, he said the Centre would help the state. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a father figure for us. His government will help the state stand on its feet. In five years, a BJP government will do enough to not only sustain itself but also contribute to the Centre like a son does after he becomes self-dependent,” he said. He added that the state anyway draws 90 per cent of its funding from the Centre.
The Left Front, which has cited Sarkar’s image and his government’s work for the poor as its key planks, has rejected the BJP’s promises as ‘jumla’ (rhetoric) aimed at winning votes. “Our vision document in which we have made these promises was released by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. This itself underlines out sincerity. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured people the Centre’s full support and our party president Amit Shah has given assurance to the masses in his rallies. So it should not leave any scope for a doubt in anybody’s mind,” Deb said.
The CPI(M)-led government, Deb claimed, has done little development during its uninterrupted rule. It did not run a people’s government but “Sarkar’s sarkar” is aimed at serving Left cadres, he claimed. The BJP, which did not win a single seat in the last assembly polls, has emerged as the main challenger to the CPI (M), in what is being seen as a first direct contest in Indian elections between the Left and the Right. Sarkar has expressed confidence of retaining power for yet another term but the BJP has run an intensive campaign led by Modi and Shah, and is banking on its promises and perceived anti-incumbency against the state government to breach the Left fortress.