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Sun, 17 Dec 2017

Northeast Today

Shrink in the Left Bastion ?

Shrink in the Left Bastion ?
August 09
15:32 2016

July Edition, NET Bureau, Pinaki Das

A political turmoil has started in Left bastion of Tripura with six-rebel Congress MLAs joining the Trinamool Congress, over the Congress-CPI(M) election alliance in West Bengal, and declared to oust the CPI(M) from power in the 2018 assembly elections.

The defection of the MLAs has rang alarm bells for the Left Front instead of being happy that the main Opposition Congress got weakened due to the defections. The wounds those Left had in West Bengal under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee are still fresh and immediately after her recent landmark victory she declared to make India Left free and her next target looks set to be Tripura.

Not only the Trinamool Congress, but the BJP, which recently came to power in neighbouring Assam, is gradually gaining its ground especially among the tribal section of people in Left ruled Tripura. Of late around 850 tribal families mainly from the CPI-M and Congress, frustrated over the Bengal election alliance between Left-INC, openly declared their intention of joining the BJP in remote Atharagola area, once considered a fort of the CPI(M). A few of them were holders of elected posts such as panchayat members and block committee president from CPI(M) as well as Congress. This has been the second big joining in less than a week’s time; earlier more than 1,200 families joined BJP at Amarpur.

Tribals were always the vote bank of the Left but analysis reveals that the party has lost around eight per cent of its vote share among the tribal section of people in the last election of Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC), which cover two thirds of the state and all the tribal areas of Tripura.

Moreover, in absence of great tribal communist leader like Dashrath Deb who launched the Jana Shiksha Abhiyan or campaign for education among tribals in 1945 forcing the Maharaja to recognise 500 primary schools, it will be hard for the Left to retain ground as it was from this wide base that the tribals gravitated towards communism.

Moreover, leader like Nripen Chakraborty who accurately gauged the difficult social reality (against the then Congress’s sectarian approach) that without tribal supports all Bengali agenda would be circumscribed and likewise, tribals would not advance without Bengali help.

The call went out: tribal-non tribal unity was the absolute imperative. The idea flared up across the state for two reasons – tribals, who had taken to communism in the 1940s and 50s, grasped the idea instantly while, non-tribals too came into the fold and gradually the Left expanded its platform with presently occupying 50 seats in a House of 60, but the 43 per cent of the opposition vote share is largely credited to the Congress.

But with the improving socio-economic condition and long stay of the Left Front government in the state it seems there is a growing vacuum in the tribal leadership in the CPI(M). The issue of separate tribal state, undecided controversy over script of Kokborok – language of the majority tribal people, and direct funding in ADC along with few other issues are moving the younger tribals away from communism. It seems the gap is widening between the newer generations with the communist, whom they treat as old-fashioned, in the fast growing virtual world of Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.

The 70’s revolutionary spirit is missing in the growing rat race for career among students who are taught to realize that to survive one need to score good mark to ensure a job for a secure future. Student movements are gradually fading away and a large section of those found rallying with placards are participating under some compulsion.

Similar, is the situation among the employees, a big section (in fear of getting transferred or some other compulsion) though do not speak out in open about their grudge of being deprived from the central pay scale but given a confidence of maintaining the secrecy they speak out against the Left rule.

This is the situation that the new opposition TMC and growing BJP trying to use against the Left Front in Tripura. While TMC vice president Mukul Roy in presence of the newly joined MLAs said, “This is the starting of the fight for 2018 election and it will continue till we can make Tripura CPI(M) free and the people get freedom from the misrule of the CPI(M). Our fight and movement has started.”

Roy viewed that TMC is the only force that can wipe out Left’s misrule and it has already been proven in Bengal and hence six MLAs had disassociated themselves from Congress and joined the TMC in Tripura.

On bringing together the anti-Left voters, Roy said, “We have shown it in Bengal, though Left and Congress had gone together and were confident that this time they are going to oust TMC. But the result is that people had given their mandate against the Congress and CPI(M). Congress is going to be irrelevant force in Tripura.”

Alleging that law and order has totally collapsed and there has been no development in Tripura during the Left regime under Manik Sarkar, Roy claimed that today after the Congress-CPI(M) alliance in Bengal it is clear that Congress has never been honest in its fight against the Left and only TMC can out the Left Front. Similar is the claim of the BJP though they at present are concentrating more on the tribal voters and which is a matter of worry for the CPI(M). During the last TTAADC elections the CPI(M) got some eight percent less vote than the previous election and is presently working on to find the cause behind the declining popularity of Left Front.

Tripura BJP state president Biplab Deb viewed that the Congress and the communists in Tripura are responsible for the backwardness of the state as this is their trump card for election.

“Last four elections in Tripura were not based on the development card, Congress and the CPI(M) are responsible for the destruction of Tripura. The BJP state committee of Tripura will compel the Congress and communists to fight the 2018 election of Tripura on development card. Now, many of them (Congress) leaders have joined other party and let they be recognised which party they belong to at present. I again say the 2018 election will be fought for development and not on community or religion. Whoever can bring development to Tripura, they should be in power in 2018 and it can only be done by the Modi government,” said Deb.

According to him the Manik Sarkar led communist government in Tripura is a total failure as even after his 23 year as chief minister the state has around 67 per cent of its population still living under the poverty line. He viewed that the Left Front government has purposefully kept the state undeveloped and the majority population below BPL line in order to remain in power playing the politics of poverty.

Deb asserted that after Assam now it is Tripura’s turn to bring BJP to power in the next assembly election scheduled in early 2018.

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