Amidst the hype created for West Bengal-based Trinamool Congress, Biplab Deb led BJP won 112 unopposed seats across 20 local civic bodies.
New Delhi: Proving the prophets of doom wrong, the BJP has maintained its grip in Tripura civic polls even as political detractors have alleged violence in the formerly Left bastion. The Lotus party won 'uncontested' 112 out of 334 seats across 20 local civic bodies, including Agartala Municipal Corporation.
The much hype created over the entry of West Bengal-based Trinamool Congress into the fray, notwithstanding high flying visits by Mamata Banerjee's influential nephew Abhishek Banerjee and other key leaders, has fallen flat.
The BJP has secured nearly 34 per cent of total seats already and the majority in Kamalpur in the north, Jirania, Ranir Bazar, Mohanpur, Bishalgarh in Western Tripura, Santir Bazar and Udaipur in southern Tripura.
For the remaining 222 seats, 785 candidates from various political parties remain in the Urban Local Bodies elections on November 25. The counting of votes will be held on November 28. The five-year terms of the Agartala Municipal Corporation and other civic bodies expired in December 2020, but the BJP-led dispensation did not conduct the polls because of the Covid-19 pandemic. State Election Commissioner Manik Lal Dey said that the elections on November 25 would be held through the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) to adhere to the Covid protocols.
The outcome has left two major opposition parties, Trinamool Congress and CPI-M, aggrieved and thus the refrains of having been on expected lines. The Santirbazar Municipal Council poll outcome went uncontested. Six BJP rebel candidates confirmed the withdrawal of nominations after the victory for the BJP. Interestingly, no other parties submitted nominations.
Much to the embarrassment of the CPI (M) led Left Front, which ruled the northeastern state for long, eight candidates – four CPI (M), two Congress, one Forward Bloc and one Independent – had withdrawn candidatures from Agartala Municipal Corporation.
According to a report on TripuraNet.com, Trinamool Congress MP Sushmita Dev alleged that her party candidates for local body polls were facing intimidation from the ruling BJP supporters. However, her party candidates had shown exemplary courage and faced the threats, she said.
Sushmita Dev, daughter of Congress veteran Santosh Mohan Dev, was roped into TMC by Mamata and especially deployed to impact the civic polls in Tripura, which BJP had captured in 2018 by ousting the communists.
The opposition CPI-M party state general secretary Jitendra Choudhury has already dashed off a letter to the State Election Commissioner alleging intimidations against party candidates.
"Our party workers were attacked and our candidates in five municipal councils and two nagar panchayats could not submit their nominations following violence occurred since the announcement of the poll date," Choudhury said in a press conference.
On the contrary, Tripura BJP vice president Rajib Bhattacharjee said the Trinamool Congress had unleashed a reign of terror in West Bengal polls against the BJP and has now brought the 'culture of violence' in Tripura.
The BJP came to power in 2018, winning 36 seats in the 60-member assembly, while its alliance partner, Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT), won 8. The one time dominant CPI-M could win only 16 seats while Congress and other smaller Left parties, including Forward Bloc and CPI, could not open their account.
Living up to its reputation of starting poll preparedness in states well in advance, the BJP has already set the ball rolling for the 2023 assembly elections in Tripura and carried out a state cabinet reshuffle and expansion in August.