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18 contenders in fray for Tripura’s two LS seats, main battle between BJP and INDIA bloc

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Shillong, April 4: A total of 18 candidates, including two women, are in the fray for Tripura’s two Lok Sabha seats but the main contest is expected to be between the candidates of the ruling BJP and INDIA bloc.

In the 2019 parliamentary elections, there were 23 candidates, including three women, and the BJP’s Pratima Bhowmik (Tripura West) and Rebati Tripura (Tripura East-ST) emerged as the winners. However, both of them are not contesting this time.

In the Tripura West Lok Sabha seat, which will go to the polls on April 19, nine candidates are in the fray. They include BJP nominee and former Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb and Congress state President Asish Kumar Saha, the consensus candidate of the INDIA bloc.

In the Tripura East constituency, where polling will be held on April 26, there are nine candidates, including two women, but the main contest will be between BJP’s Kriti Devi Debbarma and CPI-M’s Rajendra Reang, who is the nominee of the INDIA bloc.

Most of the 18 candidates, including those of BJP and INDIA bloc, are contesting the Lok Sabha elections for the first time.

There was a controversy when the BJP nominated Debbarma as its contender for the Tripura East Lok Sabha seat. A resident of Chhattisgarh, she is the elder sister of Tipra Motha Party (TMP) supremo and royal scion Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barma. Her nomination came after the TMP signed a tripartite agreement with the Union Home Ministry and the Tripura government in March for the development of the tribals and the party joined the BJP-led government on March 7.

Amidst the controversy, the Chief Minister and senior BJP leaders defended her candidature, asserting that her roots in Tripura as she is from the erstwhile royal family and daughter of Maharaj Kirit Bikram Debbarma. (IANS)

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