December Edition, NET Bureau, Statewide, Tripura, Pinaki Das
The significant result of the BJP which snatched the second position with more than 12,000 votes in the Barjala assembly constituency seat in the Tripura by-election shows that the people of the state has given their mandate to BJP as the lone anti-Left alternative in the Left ruled state, diminishing the claim of TMC and Congress party.
CPI-M candidates has managed to win both the seats but BJP did significantly well in Barjala. According to BJP state president Biplab Deb, this is the starting of the end of the misrule of the Left under Manik Sarkar. He appealed to the anti-Left people of the state to join the BJP in order to oust the CPI-M lead Left Front from Tripura in the coming 2018 election. The BJP leader opined that the result revealed that in spite of initial suffering for a few days, people are supporting the demonetization move by Prime Minister Narendra Modi against black money. According to Deb another issue that the people of the state could not digest is the double standard of the CPI-M, Trinamool and Congress. He said that they pretend to be in the opposition but on the issue of black money are united against the BJP.
Deb said, “In Barjala the BJP was in the verge of winning and it is revealed from the result. The people of Tripura has made it clear that only BJP is the alternative and I through this press conference appeal to the entire population of Tripura to join with the BJP. Had the other opposition parties not deducted our votes, BJP would have won with more than 7,000 votes. I appeal to all anti-Left people to join BJP and make it stronger to achieve the mission of 2018 election.”
BJP Tripura in-charge Sunil Deodhar said, “This has become very clear from the poll results that the lone opposition against the CPI-M is the BJP. Our vote bank has increased while that of the CPI-M has decreased and keeping the target of 2018 assembly election who ever do not want the communists to return to power has only one alternative that is to make strong the BJP and Narendra Modi government at the Centre.”
Earlier CPI-M state secretary Bijan Dhar had expressed his concern on the significant increase of vote of the BJP in Tripura. He suggested that in order to fight and keep away the rise of BJP and other communal forces throughout the nation including Left ruled Tripura, the CPI-M along with its alliance parties has to further strengthen its struggle against the decisive forces and apply pressure for state sponsored election and proportional representation.
The ruling CPI-M in Tripura won both the Assembly seats – Barjala and Khowai, by defeating Congress and TMC candidates, but the noticeable change in the voting pattern is the consistent growth of BJP, which has maintaining the second position in almost all the by-election held in Tripura in recent times. Earlier, in Kamalpur and Pratapgarh constituency, BJP, almost from zero got around 10,000 votes in both the seats.
BJP’s steady growth and activities is a matter of concern for the CPI-M and the line of worry is clear in the forehead of the Tripura Chief Minister. Sarkar and his party took part in a dawn to dusk strike against demonetization but is in no position to ignore or revolt directly against the calculated move of the PM. In fact that the CPI-M is of the view that it supports demonetization and drive against black money but there should have more preparations to give relief to the common man.
Recently the Prime Minister had invited Chief Minister Manik Sarkar to take part in the meeting of the committee of Chief Ministers at Delhi to suggest ways to make India a less cash economy. However, Sarkar declined the invitation stating that Prime Minister Narendra Modi in order to neutralise political turmoil over demonetization within and outside Parliament had proposed the committee of CMs. Sarkar said, “Finance Minister Arun Jaitley informed over phone that the Prime Minister wants to talk to me. The government wants suggestions on the present demonization with the aim of cashless transaction which is good. They want to form a committee of CMs and in the panel want to include the Tripura CM. In my initial reaction I said that it is a highly technical matter and I have no personal experience or understand how much I can contribute to it. I wanted to know why all of a sudden I shall be there and he informed that there shall be CMs of few other states and most likely they also do not know much on it, however, there shall be representatives from the NITI Ayog and the Finance Ministry who shall brief on the matter and after which I can give my advice which will be of great help. To conclude our discussion I said that if the PM wishes it is very tough for the CM of any state to ignore it.” Sarkar said that he had directly informed over phone to the union Finance Minister about his decision not to take part in the meeting of the committee of Chief Ministers to suggest ways to make India a less cash economy.
According to the Tripura CM, common people, small traders and daily labourers are the worst sufferers of demonetization and so his party has total sympathy with them. “What is going on in the entire country after Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes have been banned and new Rs 2000 notes introduced. There are crores of daily labors and small businessmen who depend on their daily income for their livelihood and in such a situation when 85 to 87 percent of the currency notes mare of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes which have been withdrawn, has created a problem.
The change in opposition vote and the steady growth of BJP is worrying the CPI-M led Left Front in Tripura which is going for its crucial assembly election in another 14 months time. Now the future of Tripura, traditionally a bipolar state with Left and Congress being in power from time to time, will depend on how good the BJP is in getting together the fragmented opposition vote under one platform.