The coming Assembly election in Tripura is likely to witness a fight between the CPI(M)-led Left Front and the BJP in the state. The state had in the past witnessed an electoral battle between the CPI(M) and the Congress. Sudip Roy Burman, former state Congress president and an MLA who had joined the BJP, said, “The Congress was not serious about fighting the CPI(M)” and claimed that the BJP would defeat the Marxists in the Assembly poll. Burman, who headed the state Congress in 2013 Assembly election, told PTI, “In 2013, the CPI(M) had faced strong anti-incumbency but Congress central leadership had helped CPI(M) in the state clandestinely for enjoying the party’s support in Parliament”. CPI(M) politburo member Prakash Karat also admitted that this time it is a contest between the Left Front and the BJP in the February 18 election.
“All the earlier elections in the state were fought between the Left Front and the Congress but this time, it is a contest between the BJP and the Left Front as Congress leaders and supporters had joined the saffron party”, Karat had stated at an election meeting in South Tripura on Friday. Six Congress MLAs including Burman had crossed over to the BJP. “We are forced to join the BJP as we found that the Congress is not serious about fighting the CPI(M)”, Burman said. Tripura Congress vice-president, Tapas Dey said, “A communal party like the BJP became so strong in the state due to the misrule and partisan behaviour of the CPI(M)”.
The CPI(M) never fulfilled the justified demands of the people, he said and alleged, “They (CPIM) have a vindictive attitude towards people who do not support them.” CPI(M) spokesperson Gautam Das said, Tripura is a model state in the country in terms of development. “The pro-people programmes of the Left Front government, especially for the poor and the working class, would bring it back to power”, he said. To garner the tribal vote which constituted around 31 per cent in the state, BJP has stitched an alliance with the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT). “The alliance between BJP and IPFT will make a strong impact in the 20 tribal reserve constituencies,” said Mrinal Kanti Deb, BJP spokesperson. Karat had, however, alleged that the IPFT is the mask of insurgents, who had killed people of the state a decade-and-a-half ago.
The BJP forging an alliance with such a party was tantamount to “sedition”, the senior CPI(M) leader had said. That the BJP is very serious in wresting power from the CPI(M) is evident from the list of its star campaigners like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home minister Rajnath Singh, BJP president Amit Shah and a galaxy of party leaders who will campaign for party candidates in Tripura. Cautioning the people in the state, Karat had said, “The Assembly election in the state is important not only for Tripura, but for entire India, as it would show which way the country would move”.