INDIA bloc yet to reach agreement on seat-sharing in Tripura

Agartala, March 15 (IANS) The INDIA bloc is yet to agree on fighting the Lok Sabha polls in unison in Tripura while the ruling BJP has already announced its candidates for the state’s two seats.

Though the Congress nominated its state party chief President Ashish Kumar Saha for the Tripura West Lok Sabha seat, bloc partner CPI-M has yet to declare its candidate for the Tripura East Lok Sabha (reserved for STs) nor has it disclosed its stand about the Congress candidature.

Saha on Friday said that the central leaders of CPI-M and the Congress have already decided that the Congress would contest the Tripura West seat and the CPI-M the Tripura East seat.

Congress leaders urged the Left to announce its candidate at the earliest to take on the ruling BJP.

A senior CPI-M leader told IANS that the party’s state Committee would meet on March 17 and the candidate-related and other election issues would be discussed in the meeting, where party General Secretary Sitaram Yechury or Politburo member Prakash Karat likely to be present.

“Some party leaders are not willing to give the Tripura West Lok Sabha seat to the Congress and are keen to put up candidates in both the seats. However, several other party leaders are eager to contest the parliamentary polls in Tripura in the 1:1 ratio,” the leader, who did not want to be named, said.

The CPI-M won both the seats many times since 1952 while the Congress has also won a few times.

The BJP won both seats for the first time in 2019, with Union Minister of State for Social Justice Pratima Bhoumik (Tripura West) and teacher-turned-politician Rebati Tripura (Tripura East) emerging triumphant. However, both have been dropped this time and Maharani Kriti Singh Debbarma and former Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb were named for the Tripura East Lok Sabha and Tripura West seats, respectively.

A resident of Chhattisgarh, Debbarma, of the erstwhile princely ruling family and a social activist, is the elder sister of Tipra Motha Party (TMP) supremo and royal scion Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barman.

Her candidature came after hectic parleys for over a year and days after the TMP, which had been demanding a ‘Greater Tipra Land’ or a separate state for the tribals under the Constitution’s Articles 2 and 3, signed a tripartite agreement with the Centre and the Tripura government and joined the BJP-led coalition government in the state.

According to the agreement, a joint working group/committee would be formed to work out and implement the mutually agreed issues in a time-bound manner to ensure an ‘honourable’ solution to the tribals’ demands.

The CPI-M and the Congress have criticised the BJP for choosing Debbarma as its candidate as she is a family member of the leader of the TMP, with which it has yet to form any official alliance.

Urging people to “boycott” the TMP and the BJP and to vote for Congress, Congress Working Committee (CWC) member and former minister Sudip Roy Barman said that the TMP chief “played with sentiments of tribals” with lofty slogans of tribals’ development before joining the BJP government and putting up his sister as a BJP candidate.

“If anyone tries to sell tribals of Tripura to manage their own interests, they don’t want the well-being of tribals,” said Roy Barman, who along with state party chief Saha, met Deb Barman last month to discuss fighting the Lok Sabha polls jointly.



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