C Times, 6th July 2017, Agartala
The BJP, which had made significant inroads in the state’s panchayats, has also increased its vote share in significant by-elections to two assembly constituencies – Khowai and Barjala – in November last year. In Khowai, its vote share rose from 511 in 2013 to 12,395 in 2016. Likewise, in Barjala it went up from 232 to 2528 in a gap of fewer than four years.
A little over six months from now, the Left Front will complete a quarter of a century in power in the tiny Northeastern state of Tripura. But if all goes well for the BJP, which has drawn up its own strategy of Operation Red Fort, it could also lead to the end of Left rule in the state. Biplab Deb, president of the Tripura state BJP unit, is working overtime to make that happen, and with senior Assam BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma – who also holds the post of convenor of the saffron party’s North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), one that is mandated to expand the party’s base in the region – making frequent trips to the state, it is for sure that Agartala is emerging as the most exciting venue for politics in the next few months.
Reacting to TMC legislators announcing support for NDA Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind, BJP VP Subal Bhowmik told, “This is a timely decision. Eventually, TMC MLAs have read the writing on the wall in Tripura.”
Bhowmik refused to comment on whether this also meant that the six MLAs, who left Congress in 2016 to join TMC, would join BJP.
While this means that BJP will have a presence in Tripura for the first time, ahead of the 2018 Assembly polls, party leaders said BJP has also decided to “learn from its mistakes in Bengal”.
CPIM spokesman Gautam Das Wednesday a long time later admitted that there is nothing to hide about what CBI officers questioned on Rose Valley Chit Fund scam issue on June 16 last at Daily Desher Katha newspaper office.
Das said, CBI Inspector Brotin Ghosal called on June 15 last and asked him about questioning on Rose Valley Chit Fund scam issue. A team of two CBI officers led by Inspector Gosal and Additional SP K K Tripathi arrived on the following day to question him. Both CBI officers grilled CPIM state spokesman for nearly 45 minutes in the office of Daily Desher Kath newspaper.
In the past one week, CBI has issued notices to state Social Welfare and Social Education Minister Bijita Nath and questioned Left leader Gautam Das for his alleged involvement in Rose Valley chit fund scam. But, no BJP leader made any comment on these cases.
This, party leaders said, was their new strategy. Ahead of the 2016 Bengal Assembly polls, when central agencies’ probes against several TMC ministers triggered allegations of political vendetta, BJP chief Amit Shah had given the slogan of ‘Bhaag Mamata Bhaag’. But this, BJP insiders admit, backfired. Last month, Shah is learnt to have instructed party leaders to avoid personal attacks on Tripura leaders and focus on people’s issues.
A BJP leader said, “In East India, this kind of politics doesn’t bode well with people. Politicians tend to avoid personal attacks, especially against people like Manik Sarkar or Mamata Banerjee, who most people continue to believe are honest. The CPM government in Tripura pretends to be for the poor but does nothing for them. This is what we need to focus on.”
Making frequent trips to the state, if is for sure that Tripura is emerging as the most exciting venue for politics in the next few months.