Trinamool Congress, Congress no deal in Tripura polls


Agartala : Despite an electoral pact with the Congress in West Bengal, the Trinamool Congress will fight against both Congress and the ruling Left parties in next month’s politically important elections to the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC), party leaders said here Wednesday.

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The elections to the 30-seat (28 elective, two nominated) TTAADC, which facilitates the socio-economic development of the tribals, would be held May 3. The council, which has jurisdiction over two-thirds of the state’s geographical area, was constituted in 1985 after amending the sixth schedule of the constitution.

The Trinamool Congress (TMC) Tripura unit chairman Arun Chandra Bhowmik said it has put up 22 candidates in alliance with a tribal-based party National Conference of Tripura (NCT).

“Congress leaders in Tripura ignored our party and that’s why with the approval of our party chief Mamata Banerjee, we have fielded candidates both against the Congress and the Left parties,” Bhowmik told reporters.

“Due to Congress’ non-political attitude, the non-Left votes would divide and the ruling Left Front candidates will get the benefit in the polls,” he said.

Bhowmik said: “Though the Congress and TMC are jointly battling in a ‘second freedom fight’ to oust the ruling Left Front in West Bengal, the Congress leadership in Tripura has remained unperturbed.”

The Tripura Congress leadership refused to make any comments on the TMC views.

“We are trying to regain our (Congress) base among the tribals, that’s why this time we are fighting the polls alone,” Congress spokesman Tapas Dey said adding that the TMC is not a strong political force in Tripura like West Bengal.

Both TMC and Congress also fought separately in last year’s Lok Sabha elections.

Meanwhile, the 28-year-old alliance between the main opposition Congress and the tribal-based party Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) broken last week over seat-sharing.

For the ruling Left Front, regaining the key constitutional body appears to be a virtual cakewalk as the Congress, the INPT, the TMC, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), a tribal-based party, will all fight the polls separately.

State Election Commissioner Yash Pal Singh said altogether 166 aspirants, including 10 women candidates, are contesting TTAADC polls.

The ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) led Left Front, Congress and INPT have fielded candidates in all the 28 elective seats.

“We have sought additional 30 companies of Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMF) from the union home ministry. Besides, the CPMF currently deployed in the state would also be posted in the interior and remote areas to foil any subversive attempts by separatist outfits,” Singh told reporters.