CPI (M) fields candidates for Tripura Assembly bypolls, INC and Tipra Motha give in

The CPI(M) stunned allies INC and Tipra Motha by unilaterally fielding candidates for the Tripura Assembly bypolls scheduled for September.

CPI (M) fields candidates for Tripura Assembly bypolls, INC and Tipra Motha give in

A rift has apparently appeared in the inter-party relationships between the Opposition in Tripura, as the Left Front, led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)], has nominated its candidates for two assembly constituencies where bypolls are due in September. The decision of the CPI(M) to field its candidates in the Tripura Assembly bypolls has taken the Indian National Congress (INC), the left’s enemy-turned-ally in the state, and the Tipra Motha by surprise.

Earlier, the CPI(M), INC and Tipra Motha decided to jointly contest the Tripura Assembly bypolls on Saturday, August 12th. They emphasised consolidating the Opposition votes to defeat the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The unilateral move by the CPI(M) after the meeting surprised the INC and Tipra Motha.

However, the CPI(M), which claimed it has the best prospects to win the two seats during the Tripura Assembly bypolls, has plunged into firefighting mode to save its alliance and consolidate the anti-BJP votes.

The Tripura Assembly bypolls will take place in two constituencies, Dhanpur and Boxanagar in the Sepahijala district. The polls are scheduled for September 5th, and the counting will take place on September 8th.

The Tripura Assembly bypolls became necessary due to the death of CPI (M) legislator of Boxanagar constituency Samsul Haque and the resignation of Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Pratima Bhowmik who won the Tripura Assembly elections held earlier this year on behalf of the BJP from the Dhanpur seat.

A total of 93,234 voters, including 43,087 voters at Boxanagar and 50,147 voters at Dhanpur seats would exercise their franchise. Also, a total of 51 polling booths would be set up at Boxanagar and another 59 polling stations would be set up at Dhanpur.

According to INC’s state president Asish Kumar Saha, “In the meeting, we discussed the by-polls, current political scenario, etc. Though no conclusion has been made, we are hopeful to reach one soon. We reached a point to give effort unitedly to defeat the BJP in the by-polls.” 

“The other two parties will also discuss at their party level. We hope that the 1:1 contest will get priority. We shall let you know who is going to contest from which seat later”, Saha further added. 

Senior TIPRA Motha leader Animesh Debbarma, INC legislators Sudip Roy Barman and Gopal Roy, CPI (M) state secretary Jitendra Chaudhury, former CPI (M) ministers Ratan Bhowmik and Manik Dey, attended the Opposition meeting.

“The BJP came to power even after securing less than 40% of votes, and the opposition parties despite getting over 60% of votes, are sitting on the opposition bench. We are focusing on anti-ruling votes. No decision has been taken as it was the first day of the (opposition) meeting. I shall raise the issue in our party meeting. The decision will be taken by the party,” said Debbarma. 

Reacting to the opposition alliance, BJP spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharjee said the attempt of a so-called ‘united contest’ against the BJP is nothing new. “The same is happening nationally. We want to say that our focus is on our organisational activities and we are ready for the by-polls,” Bhattacharjee said.

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