Tripura polls: BJP fears Congress could cause split of the anti-Left votes 

Amit Shah sniffed that the decision of the Congress to field 59 candidates in the state’s 60 seats was part of a design.

Published: 12th February 2018 07:25 PM  |   Last Updated: 12th February 2018 07:25 PM   |  A+A-

BJP chief Amit Shah

Express News Service

GUWAHATI: BJP national president Amit Shah on Monday expressed fear about the possibility  of the Congress hurting the saffron party’s poll prospects in poll-bound Tripura by causing split of the anti-Left votes.

Despite the fact that the party is way behind ruling Left Front and the resurgent BJP in terms of popularity, he sniffed that the decision of the Congress to field 59 candidates in the state’s 60 seats was part of a design.

“The Congress is trying to cause split of the anti-Left votes. Their idea essentially is to help the CPI-M (which is a major constituent of Left Front government). I appeal to people to understand this dynamics,” Shah told reporters in Tripura capital Agartala. 

The Congress ruled the state twice and had for long been the Left’s principal rival. A resurgent BJP has now occupied the anti-Left space by growing at the expense of the grand old party. In the 2013 polls, the Congress had grabbed nine seats compared to the Left’s 50. The BJP had drawn a blank. Seven of the Congress MLAs ditched the party last year to wear saffron.

The BJP is dreaming big this election. Party leader and Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma claimed the BJP would get more than 40 seats. “We are growing every day. The wave is such that even chief minister Manik Sarkar might lose the elections,” Sarma told The New Indian Express. He is possibly partly right.

The BJP has fielded 51 candidates and forged an alliance with the NC Debbarma faction of tribal-based Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), which is contesting in nine seats. The BJP’s decision to swim alongside the IPFT is viewed as an attempt to cosy up to tribals. Nineteen seats are reserved for the community, which also holds sway in several other Assembly segments.

Shah claimed people across the state were angry with the Left as it had allegedly pushed the state to darkness.

“In the past 25 years of Left rule, Tripura reached the lowest ebb in terms of development. During the same period, most states, particularly those ruled by the BJP, made giant strides. The CPI-M leadership and workers are frustrated. The frustration made them to resort to violence as our workers are being increasingly targeted by them. However, the BJP is ready to put up a fight but peacefully,” Shah asserted.

He slammed the CPI-M for the crimes against women, saying at least two women are raped in the state every day. “The administration in Tripura is hand in glove with the Left. The police act only on the orders of their political masters,” he alleged.

He attributed the BJP’s stunning rise in Tripura to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity and the performance of BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre. To a query on Jammu and Kashmir, he said the highest number of militants since India’s independence was killed during the BJP regime.

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