AGARTALA: The ruling Left Front on Tuesday released its list of candidates for the 60-member Tripura Assembly polls, featuring both old and new faces, with seven of the nominees being women. The state election is slated for February 18.
According to Left leaders, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) prevailed over the Left Front allies in the selection of candidates.
"Twelve new candidates and seven women nominees of the Left Front would contest the assembly elections on February 18," Tripura CPI-M state secretary Bijan Dhar told the media after releasing the list.
He said in the 2013 assembly elections, the Left Front partners Communist Party of India contested (two), Forward Bloc (one) and Revolutionary Socialist Party (two) but in next month's polls they would contest only one seat each.
CPI-M central committee member Dhar, who was elected the Left Front's convener on Tuesday after Khagen Das died in Kolkata due to cardiac arrest on Sunday, said in the last assembly elections, five women candidates were fielded by the CPI-M and all of them won. This time seven women candidates would be fielded by the party.
According to the Election Commission (EC)'s announcement, the single-phase assembly polls will be held on February 18 in Tripura, and in Nagaland and Meghalaya on February 27. Counting of votes for all the three states, which have 60 assembly seats each, will be done on March 3.
Accompanied by the CPI-M and other Left Front leaders, Dhar said that five sitting CPI-M legislators were dropped on health grounds and due to organisational reasons.
Among the 60 Left Front candidates, 35-year-old Jhumu Sarkar (Barjala constituency) is the youngest and 79-year-old Nirajoy Tripura (Chawmanu) the oldest.
Incumbent Health and PWD minister Badal Choudhury will be contesting the assembly elections for a record 10th time and has won seven times, while Education and Law Minister Tapan Chakraborty would contest the polls for the ninth time, out of which he won six times since 1978, when the first Left Front government headed by Nripen Chakraborty came to power in Tripura.
In the prestigious Banamalipur seat, CPI-M's youth wing DYFI (Democratic Youth Federation of India) secretary Amal Chakraborty will be the new Left Front candidate, while the CPI-M's Rajya Sabha member and the party's women's front leader Jharna Das Baidya has been fielded from the Badharghat seat.
The Chief Minister and CPI-M's lone politburo member from Tripura Manik Sarkar will contest from his old turf Dhanpur (in western Tripura), while all the 11 ministers have again been renominated for the upcoming polls.