Armstrong Chanambam | Feb 14, 2018 | 5 min read
Tripura election: Agartala gripped in Modi-wave
By Armstrong Chanambam
Agartala: With Tripuris set to cast their mandate on Sunday in the first-ever straight contest between the Left and the Right in Assembly elections, Agartala witnessed an all round last minute pitch by the Prime Minister of the country, Narendra Modi, as he went from targeting incumbent CPI(M) and opposition Congress to promising post-poll sops and implementation of favourable schemes in the state.
Before landing in Agartala to address two simultaneous rallies in Shanti Bazaar and Asthabal Maidan on Thursday, the PM visited Arunachal Pradesh to participate in three events, including the inauguration of the Dorjee Khandu state convention centre in Itanagar, where he also announced to start a biweekly express train between New Delhi and Naharlagun.
In Agartala, security remained uptight all of Thursday. Superintendent of Police (Control Room) Pradip Dey said the security arrangements for the PM’s rally were supervised by the SPG from New Delhi and he was not authorised to divulge details. Several companies of Central armed police forces such as BSF, CRPF, SSB and ITBP were deployed. Five companies from the Rajasthan Police were also utilised for assisting the state police in the security arrangements apart from several companies of the Punjab Armed Police.
Tripura will go to polls on 18 February with 59 of the 60 seats in fray. On Thursday, the Election Commission announced that poll in Charilam constituency in Sepahijala district, which was postponed after the death of CPI(M) candidate Ramendra Narayan Debbarma while campaigning on 11 February, will be held on 12 March.
With BJP supporters trickling in the capital since Thursday morning, both the venues were gripped with saffron fervour by the time Modi started to speak. While the expected number was two lakh, close to six lakh people had turned up for the two rallies, a senior official of the RAF said. The loud cheer to Modi’s rhetoric explained why BJP still depends on the PM to hammer the final nail during election campaigns.
“Under PM Modi, India has grown in stature,” said Romesh Chandra Sarkar, president of the SC morcha of Town Bordowali constituency, who was a CPM supporter till May, 2017, before joining the BJP. Sarkar said before Modi became the PM, global leaders used to look down upon Indian leaders, “but now they treat him as their equal”.
‘Left believes in gun-tantra’
Speaking in Hindi, Modi used rhyming words to hit out at Manik Sarkar government. “Left parties do not believe in democracy (ganatantra) they believe in gun-tantra,” Modi said.
“They murdered our 10 BJP workers. They killed journalists,” he alleged.
Meanwhile on Wednesday, autopsy report of Madhusudhan Deb, a booth president of BJP under Ramnagar assembly constituency who was found hanging in Barjala on Sunday, stated the death as ‘suicidal in nature’ by hanging. BJP had been crying foul over the death and accusing the CPI(M) of killing.
The PM also said that if BJP comes to power, Tripura would boast of the youngest government in the country. “Almost all BJP candidates are young. The state will benefit from exuberance and energy of the youth,” Modi said.
‘Will implement 7th pay commission’
Arguing that the Left government’s arrogance has become a barrier to development and welfare of the people of Tripura, Modi asked why the state government employees in Tripura are still being paid as per the fourth pay commission and not the seventh. He promised to the people that the seventh pay commission will be implemented in the state and minimum wages will be provided to all workers if BJP comes to power.
“Why don’t Tripura’s labourers get minimum wage? You protest in Delhi and shut down factories in Mumbai, but force people to die of starvation in Tripura,” Modi said.
For some, however, it is the resentment with the Left that is pulling them towards the BJP, and not just the stature of the Prime Minister.
Dilip Kumar Dev, 66, who came from Town Bordowali Assembly constituency, said he would support the saffron party even without PM Narendra Modi because the Left-Front government only works for the party and exploits government employees by not giving them proper salaries.
Meera Saha, 35, a housewife from Town Bordowali in Agartala, said the BJP is most likely to come to power as the sitting MLA of her constituency, Ashish Saha, who has moved to BJP from Congress, has performed well. The opinion was shared by Manisha Bhil, 24, of Bamutia (SC) Assembly constituency, who was “more than 100% sure of the BJP coming into power”.
Exuding confidence that Krishna Dhan Das, the BJP candidate from her constituency will win the election, Bhil said the BJP candidates in the fray are all promising and should be given a chance.
While Sanjay Chowdhary, 52, a shopkeeper attending the PM’s rally said that Left-Front being in power for 25 years should be enough of a reason for people to vote for change, a 29-year-old farmer, Rajesh Bhil, said he used to support the CPI(M) until he got fed up with their politics. They want the poor to remain poor, he said.
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