Tripura Opposition leader and former chief minister Manik Sarkar of the CPI(M) Sunday said the ruling BJP has “no chance of coming back to power” after the Assembly election in the state due in just under two months.
At a rally of CPI(M)’s trade union Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) at Swami Vivekananda ground in Agartala, Sarkar said the votes which propelled the BJP’s less than “5 per cent vote share in the 2013 polls” to a winning margin in 2018 came from other parties. Sarkar claimed the BJP was trying to confuse people with different issues, like their 2018 poll promises, which, he said, were all “jumla”.
“This government has no chance of coming back to power. Tribal voters had a major role in the last victory. A large number of supporters of the BJP’s ally Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) have gone to another party. Congress and Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders who went to the BJP have now gone back to their respective parties. Those who voted in favour of the BJP have now gone back. There are no votes for the BJP now and it is now scared and trying to confuse the people again,” Sarkar said.
He said all sections of people, including farmers, workers and women, have been deprived under the BJP-IPFT regime in the last five years and the youths were the worst sufferers since they were deprived of employment opportunities despite lofty promises of 50,000 jobs a year.
Sarkar appealed to the working class to play a crucial role in uniting people against the BJP’s “misrule”, and build peoples’ resistance against “dushman” and the “anti-people government”. He urged the people to ensure victory for a “pro-people”, “alternative force”.
Sarkar said the BJP has been depriving Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council, which is ruled by TIPRA Motha party. Sarkar also said the Left parties have tried to bring all “secular and democratic forces together” to unite people to prevent violence and resume democracy.
For Communist parties, he said, elections or the number of seats they get are not the most important things but the restoration of democracy and secularism. “Nothing final can be said right now because nothing is final in politics. But things will be decided based on the situation,” he said.
He said people have realised if the BJP returns to power, it would mean ‘sarvanash’ (doom) and with their backs against the wall, people have started resisting further violence and hooliganism.
“24-25 Left party workers were murdered in the last five years. Expecting justice, honesty, commitment and accountability from the BJP or its government is futile. We have to be organised and we have to go to people. If people think this government will stay and public rights would be ensured, it would be wrong. This is a nikamma (good for nothing) government, an anti-people government. People should not wait for anti-incumbency but be united,” he said.
While all Opposition parties including the Left Front allies – CPI(M), CPI, Forward Bloc, Revolutionary Socialist Party, the Congress and the TMC- had earlier expressed concern over the impartial role of the Election Commission of India (EIC) in the elections since 2018, Sarkar said the EIC appears to be a “little bit cautious” this time.
“They have brought 100 companies of central forces already, 300 companies are coming. The commission has a liability to run a free and fair election. The state election authority is now showing zero tolerance for violence. But from our bitter experience in the last 58 months, we cannot be satisfied by lullabies alone. People need to unite and keep pressure on the Commission to make them fulfil their duties at any cost,” he said.
The CPI(M) politburo member also expressed concern about the possibility of using central security forces for ulterior motives during the polls and threw a terse warning. “If there is anything like that, people would not let them leave like that.”
Tripura CPI(M) state secretary and the party’s tribal wing Gana Mukti Parishad chief Jitendra Chaudhury said the 2023 Assembly polls offer the people the chance of “parivartan” and said the Jan Vishwas Yatra taken out by BJP is actually “Jan Avishwas Yatra” since the saffron party realised is support base eroded over last five years due to alleged anti-people policies.
“This government is blind, mute and deaf and can’t listen to the problems of people. All promises of the PM, CM and BJP leaders turned out to be jumla. None of their promises was implemented. People have realised the truth and readied themselves for giving replies in the next elections. Now the BJP is hatching conspiracies to fool people again,” he said.
Taking a jibe at BJP’s ‘report card’ published recently, where the state government listed out 84 points of its performance in the last five years, Chaudhury said, “They have published a report card, which has nothing about achievements of their promises made in the vision document five years ago. If they have courage, let them hold ‘unnayan yatra’ and present the promised development they did before people.”
Chaudhary said all Opposition parties have decided to set up a resistance to violence and hooliganism at every booth of the state during polls. “An alliance would be for later but a unified effort to check the BJP’s hijacking of elections and poll rigging has been decided,” he said.
The rally had less than optimum gathering and the CPI(M) leaders claimed BJP supporters had denied motor vehicle operating syndicates to give Left supporters sufficient vehicles for coming to Agartala.