Parties gear up as by-poll date draws close
AGARTALA: Bharatiya Janata Party’s central and Assam state leaders and Trinamool Congress’s West Bengal leaders have plunged into frantic campaigning for bypolls to two Tripura assembly seats and to wrest these from the ruling Left Front.
The bypolls would be four-cornered contests, with the Congress too is pitting itself in and seeking to bolster its presence in the 60-member state assembly.
The Congress’ central leadership will join in the campaign soon while the ruling Left Front led by Chief Minister Manik Sarkar of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) is carrying out its electioneering for the significant by-polls.
“If we defeat the CPI-Mled Left Front candidates in the two assembly seats, the Left Front government would not fall, but a sparkling message would go across the state before the 2018 asseembly elections,” Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Sudip Roy Barman said, explaining the party’s philosophy behind its strident poll effort.
Bharatiya Janata Party’s Tripura state President Biplab Deb also shared that if the Left Front nominees are defeated in the byelections, a clear political signal would emerge ahead of the next crucial assembly elections.
“A large number of CPI-M, Congress and TMC supporters have joined the BJP and our party would be the main political force in the state,” Deb said.
The Election Commission will hold the by-elections on November 19 in the Scheduled Caste (Reserved) Barjala and Khowai assembly constituencies in Tripura.
The Barjala seat fell vacant after Congress legislator Jitendra Sarkar resigned on June 6, 2016, following an internal feud with the party while the Khowai seat has been vacant since the death of veteran CPI-M legislator Samir Deb Sarkar.
The BJP has fielded former Tripura Civil Service Officer Shista Mohan Das for the Barjala seat and Tapan Kumar Paul in Khowai.
The TMC has nominated former minister Prakash Das for the Barjala constituency and former CPI-M leader Manoj Das for the Khowai constituency.
The Left Front has fielded youth leader Jhumu Sarkar in Barjala and district party secretary Biswajit Datta in Khowai.
“People would vote Left Front candidates for the success of the state government in maintaining peace, development and tranquility in the mixed populated state,” said Bijan Dhar, who is the State Secretary of the CPI-M.
The BJP’s Tripura unit spokesman Mrinal Kanti Deb said Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Sudarshan Bhagat, Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Mahendra Nath Pandey, Union Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Babul Supriyo, Assam’s Health Minister and convenor of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) Himanta Biswa Sarma, and actress-turned-Rajya Sabha member Rupa Ganguly would join the campaign soon.
TMC’s all India Vice President Mukul Roy, the party’s West Bengal leaders Shilbhadra Datta, Manas Mukherjee, actress-turned- politician Moonmoon Sen, and West Bengal assembly member Mahua Maitra would start their campaign for Tripura bypolls from Saturday.
Congress’s state Vice President Tapas Dey said that AICC General Secretary C.P. Joshi, who is in charge of the party’s affairs in the northeast region, AICC Secretary Bhupen Bora would also take part in the campaigning.
State Congress chief Birajit Sinha said his party has laid emphasis on the door-to-door campaign and mostly the local leaders are spearheading the mass contact for the bypolls.
The bypoll for the Barjala seat became due after Jitendra Sarkar, who served as Speaker of the Tripura assembly twice in the past, resigned from the assembly membership a few months back.
A former CPI-M legislator, he joined the Congress in March 2010 and won the seat in 2013 defeating the CPI-M nominee by a narrow marjin of only 261 votes.
He had rejoined the Communist Party of India on June 6 this year after resigning from the assembly membership.
In the Khowai seat, veteran CPI-M leader Samir Deb Sarkar won in 2013 assembly elections defeating Congress candidates Dipak Majumder by a margin of 8,833 votes. The seat has been vacant since Sarkar’s death. (IANS)