The Election Commission of India has announced the scheduled for the by-elections to the four vacant Assembly seats in Tripura — Agartala, Town Bordowali, Surma and Jubarnagar — which will be held on June 23.
Votes will be counted on June 26 and notification for by-elections will be issued on May 30, the election commission announced.
The by-elections — coming just nine months before the Tripura Assembly polls — are going to be crucial for the BJP, especially its newly appointed chief minister Manik Saha, as well as the opposition parties including the CPI-M, Congress and Trinamool Congress (TMC).
The by-election in Agartala seat was necessitated after ex-minister Sudip Roy Barman resigned from the BJP to join the Congress in January this year. In Dhalai district’s Surma seat, the incumbent BJP MLA Ashish Das had switched to the TMC in May last year and was disqualified from the Assembly. Das has now quit the TMC too.
Announcing the schedule for the bypolls, the state’s chief electoral officer (CEO) Kiran Dinkarrao Gitte asserted that adequate security arrangements have been made to ensure free and fair by-elections. The Opposition parties, however, expressed their concerns in this regard at an all-party meeting held by Gitte in Agartala on Friday.
The bypolls, seen as semi-finals before the state assembly elections, will be the first major test for Saha, who replaced Biplab Kumar Deb as the CM a couple of weeks ago, when the BJP leadership made a surprise change of guard.
A victory in the bypolls would help the BJP put its house in order ahead of the assembly elections which are scheduled to be held in February next year. The party has been reeling under factional feuds and dissension, which aggravated following Deb’s removal as CM.
“We have already finalised our candidates for the four seats and their names will be declared soon. We are confident that lotus will bloom in another seat ( Yubrajnagar) this time,” said BJP spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharya.
The Congress, which failed to gain a single seat in 2018 Assembly polls and has taken a back seat, is now geared up to revive its organisational strength in the state after Sudip Roy Barman and Asish Saha joined the party.