CPI-M fears terror spurt before Tripura local bodies polls


Agartala : Tripura’s ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Tuesday said it feared a spurt of terrorism before the local bodies elections in the state, which has earned huge appreciation from the central government and other states for effectively taming militancy.

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The elections to 4,293 seats in 527 village committees under the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) will be held Feb 24.

“When the election process has just started, the separatist outfit National Liberation Front of Tripura’s (NLFT) militants Monday killed an engineer and critically injured his driver in north Tripura to disturb the peace and development,” CPI-M state secretary Bijon Dhar told reporters.

Dhar, a CPI-M central committee member, said that the main opposition Congress, like in previous polls, this time too has formed an electoral alliance with Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura. Dhar said it is the political front of the terrorists.

“However, people as before would foil the attempt of the underground extremists to spoil the democratic process,” Dhar said.

The TTAADC, which facilitates the socio-economic development of the tribals and has jurisdiction over two-thirds of the state’s geographical area, was constituted in 1985 after amending the Sixth Schedule of the constitution.

The CPI-M also demanded more autonomy to the existing 16 autonomous district councils (ADC) in northeast India, facilitating the socio-economic development of tribals, who constitute 27 percent of the region’s 40 million people.

Of the 16 ADCs, six are in Manipur, three each in Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram, and one in Tripura.

A total of 671,163 voters, including 331,518 women, are eligible to elect 4,293 local bodies’ head in the tribal dominated areas of the northeastern state.

The Tripura government in March last year amended the act, enhancing reservations for women in local government bodies from 33 percent to 50 percent.

Tripura is the fifth state in India after Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Himachal Pradesh to provide for 50 percent reservations for women in local urban and rural agencies.