Sitaram Yechury fails to rally CPM for a political alliance with Congress

CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury. PTI

CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury. PTI

The CPM defeated Congress candidates in the two Lok Sabha seats in the state by margins of nearly five lakh votes, bagging a whopping 65% vote share.

A BJP leader, who is from West Bengal and has been campaigning in Tripura, calls the fight with the Left "neck and neck", saying his party will do well in Agartala but the Left has deep roots in villages.

Along with the anti-incumbency wave, the biggest threat the Manik Sarkar government is facing is its poor track record to uplift people from poverty.

Taking on Sarkar for his charge that that the Centre had not done much for the state's development, the BJP chief reeled out the names of a number of central schemes and noted that it had released Rs 25,396 crore to Tripura under the 14th finance commission against Rs 7,283 crore it had got under the 13th finance commission.

The BJP is contesting the polls in alliance with the Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT). This has caused a crack in the Left's stronghold in the state.

"Most of the campaign against BJP on the issue of communalism is political.I did realise this even during my long stint in the Congress party", says Mr Deb, who quit Congress in November 2017 and is now the BJP candidate from Kamalpur town.

The results of the Tripura election will be declared on March 3.

However, the CPM feels that "this has to be done without having an understanding or electoral alliance with the Congress".

After losing Assam and Manipur, Congress is steadfast on securing Meghalaya. In such a situation, the IPFT may find it hard to convince the non-tribal voter base in its nine tribal constituencies, if the BJP's senior leaders concentrate their campaigning efforts on the remaining 11 seats alone. Congress not being in power in the Lok Sabha is another setback since the state relies on the Centre for most of its funds.

Rudy's comment assumes significance in light of the fact that the National People's Party (NPP), which has emerged as a major contender for power in the Congress-ruled state, has also maintained that it will not consider an alliance with any party in the state.

Pratima Bhowmik of the BJP (left) and Congress candidate Lakshmi Nag.

IPFT, which represents sections of tribals, had earlier raised the demand of a separate state but has not pushed for it following its alliance with the BJP, which is opposed to any division of Tripura. "I have been handling elections for last 30 years and we are confident of forming the BJP government in Meghalaya".

This state is crucial for the beleaguered Congress, and another step in the direction of Congress-mukt Bharat for BJP.

The presence of Bengalis in all 20 tribal seats ranges between 40 percent and 60 percent, said Debbarma, citing example of Golaghati, a reserved tribal constituency with 60 percent non-tribal voters.

The Congress which till the last Assembly elections in 2013 was the only contender against the ruling Left Front government, this time seems to have gone missing. It does give an elbow room for adjusting the party's stand close to the elections.

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