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ALL EYES ON TRIPURA POLLS, BJP PLAYS 1ST WOMAN CM CARD?
While Nagaland and Meghalaya will go to polls on February 27, all eyes are on Tripura which goes to polls on February 16. However, on March 2, the outcome will be known. In all three states, the saffron party is in power. BJP is the ruling party in Tripura and it is also part of the ruling coalition in Nagaland and Meghalaya.
WHAT DOES BJP FEEL
The Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, said the BJP-led alliance in Tripura will increase its seats and also vote share in the upcoming Assembly elections in the state. He said adding that the saffron party would have attained a majority in polls before noon on the counting day to form the government in the state. In an interview given to ANI, Shah took a dig at the Opposition in Tripura and said the Congress and Left parties have formed an alliance in the state as they have accepted that they can’t defeat BJP alone. “We will increase our seats and also our vote share in Tripura. Congress and the Communist party have come together as they have accepted that they can’t defeat BJP alone. We will form a government with full majority in the state,” Shah. Expressing confidence, Shah said the BJP is seeking a mandate to make the state prosperous in the next five years, building on the development initiatives of the party-led government. “We eliminated violence in Tripura and also took strict action against drug business from across the border in the state,” he said.
WILL CROSS MAJORITY MARK BY NOON?
Asked about the possibility of a hung Assembly in Tripura, Shah said the constituencies in Tripura are small and “you will see that before 12 pm on counting day, the BJP would have crossed the majority mark.”
CHALO PALTAI SLOGAN…
“‘Chalo Paltai’ slogan was given to change the situation in Tripura, and today we’ve done that. Earlier when the Left was in power in the state, government employees were paid under the 5th Pay Commission, but we implemented the 7th Pay commission without increasing fiscal deficit,” he added. The BJP created a record in 2018 by ousting the Left Front government which ruled Tripura for 35 years from way back in 1978. The state will go to the polls on February 16 for its 60-member Assembly. The BJP is contesting in 55 seats while its ally Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) is contesting in the remaining five seats.
WHAT ANALYSTS FEEL?
Analysts, however, believe that it will be a three-cornered election, with the Left-Congress alliance re-emerging in the state and newcomer Tipra Motha gaining widespread support in tribal areas.
In case of a deadlock with no alliance or party able to gain majority in the ensuing threecornered elections to the Tripura assembly, the Tipra Motha may stake claim to form government, its president Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawl said. The regional party, which has been attracting large numbers of adherents in the state’s tribal areas, is also willing to give outside support to any party or alliance (either the BJP or the Congress-Left combine) that manages to form government, provided it agrees “on paper and on the floor of the House” that it will concede to Tipra Motha’s demand for creation of a separate tribal state. “It may so happen that we may be the single-largest party in the state… in a postpoll scenario, we are willing to support from outside (any party which is able to form government), but you have to agree on paper and on the floor of the House that a new state will be created,” said Hrangkhawl in an exclusive interview to PTI. “If they (other parties) do not agree, we will not proceed,” he said.
WHO IS PRATIMA BHOUMIK
The focus is on Pratima Bhoumik, 53, the Union minister of state for social justice and empowerment, who has been fielded in the Tripura Assembly elections by BJP. Pratima, a sitting member of the Lok Sabha, became the first minister from Tripura in the Union ministry. The state had remained unrepresented in the Union council of ministers until her induction. Sources said she has been fielded to give a message to the people of the state that she could be a candidate for the post of chief ministership.
BID TO APPEASE BIPLAB CAMP?
Pratima has risen from the ranks in the party and is very popular. She was considered close to former chief minister Biplab Deb. Her candidature is also an attempt by the central leadership to woo and keep the Biplab camp in good humour which has not taken his removal in good spirit.
WHAT ABOUT MANIK SAHA?
There is no denying the fact that the current Chief Minister, Manik Saha, enjoys popularity but the matter of fact is the Biplab-Pratima combination that continues to be the dominant force in the state BJP. The party leadership has “played” its trump card deftly by fielding Pratima as this will perhaps give the Biplab faction a certain amount of good stature. Meanwhile, even as the BJP is locked in a tough three-cornered fight in the state and if it manages to pull through, will Tripura see the first woman Chief Minister? Stay tuned till March 2.
THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY THE AUTHOR ARE PERSONAL