Bengal Pact Burns Congress in Tripura

Four top leaders quit party to protest tie-up with Left, plan to join TMC; 6 more may follow suit.

Published: 09th April 2016 04:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th April 2016 04:34 AM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI:  Repercussions of the West Bengal polls are being felt by the Congress unit in Tripura. The party’s decision to ally with the Left to challenge Mamata Banerjee has shaken up the core leadership in Tripura which has quit in protest. Worse, the 10 Congress rebels, including legislative party leader Sudip Roy Barman, are set to join CM Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress.

Close on the heels of Barman’s angry letter to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi declaring his intention to quit, PCC working president Asish Kumar Saha and State Youth Congress chief Sushanta Chowdhury put in their papers on Friday. According to sources, they are all likely to join TMC — “Mamata’s sweet revenge’”.

The Congress rebels have claimed they are quitting in protest of what they call an “unethical and opportunist alliance between Congress and CPI-M/Left front in West Bengal” — a tie-up that has “gravely embarrassed the party rank and file in Tripura”. Tripura has been under Left rule for over a decade. In his resignation letter addressed to Gandhi, Saha reportedly claimed that “innumerable lives of Congressmen were taken away by the CPI-M party while Left cadres raped women for their allegiance towards Congress party”. This is similar to the line taken by Barman in his letter.

Chowdhury, in his letter to AICC vice president Rahul Gandhi, alleged that the tie-up had betrayed the people of Tripura, who had given 45 per cent vote share to Congress in almost all polls.

Sources, however, said the rebels had clinched an opportunity and would join TMC at an “appropriate time,” having opined that they would chalk out a future course of action to “protect people from continuous oppression of CPI-M in Tripura”.

While the Congress has only 10 MLAs, the CPI-M has a huge majority in the 60-member assembly. Only four MLAs — Barman, Saha, Diba Chandra Hrangkhawl and Biswabandhu Sen — have openly rebelled, but they are not quitting from Assembly. The disgruntled faction requires the support of seven MLAs to escape the anti-defection law.

“Definitely we have a political plan, but don’t want to disclose it at this point of time,’’ Chowdhury told a local TV channel.

Meanwhile, the ruling CPI-M is also facing resentment over the West Bengal alliance. After defections in Ambassa of Dhalai district, a group of cadre led by Khowai district youth wing leader Animesh Gope and 25 workers resigned from the party in protest.

Letter of Protest

In his resignation letter, PCC working president Asis Kumar Saha claimed “innumerable lives of Congressmen were taken away by the CPI-M party while Left cadres raped women for their allegiance to Congress”.

Disgruntled Faction

Only four Congress MLAs have openly rebelled, but they are not quitting from Assembly. The disgruntled faction requires the support of seven MLAs to escape the anti-defection law when they join the TMC.

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