Vol. XLII No. 07 February 18, 2018

Tripura is Ready to Bridle Saffron Brigade

Gautam Das

THE Tripura assembly elections are going to take place on February 18 under a complex scenario prevailing in the country, with the outcome of the 2014 parliamentary polls having brought about a retrogressive change in the political scene.The RSS-BJP has openly declared that the Communists and the CPI(M) are their main enemy and the BJP leadership has made the conquest of Tripura as their main target.

Tripura has been undergoing several adversities ever since the country’s partition which had hit the state hardest. The Left Front government tackled such a difficult situation by taking the initiative for a politico-ideological struggle against insurgency on the one hand, and on the other hand for implementation of development plans. The Left Front government succeeded in cornering the extremists through ceaseless implementation of massive development programmes in the tribal belt as well as by relentlessly combating the extremists themselves, in which many of its cadre became martyrs. The people of the tiny state elected the Left Front in 1998, 2003, 2009 and 2013 assembly elections also. CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Manik Sarkar has been leading the Left Front since 1998.

Despite the inadequate resources as well as creation of several constraints by the centre, the Left Front government has attained the top position in several sectors – literacy rate is 97.22 per cent, per capita growth rate of income is 10.3 vis-a-vis national average 8.1 (with only Tamil Nadu ahead with the rate of 11.7).

In poverty alleviation, the rate of Tripura is 62, vis-a-vis the national average of 34. According to the data from the Planning Commission Survey, the BPL rate is 14.05 per cent vis-a-vis the national average of 21.92 per cent. Tripura is a surplus state in respect of power generation, even supplying 140 MW of electricity to Bangladesh daily. In respect of growth in rice production and in horticulture, Tripura is at the top. 

The average life expectancy of the state populace is above the national average, while the rate of child mortality is far less than the national average. Supply of purified drinking water, power and road communication have covered 95 per cent of the human habitations, and 100 per cent of the state populace
has been brought under the purview of food security. BPL families are provided with food grains at Rs 2 a kilo, while all the ration card holders are provided with subsidy pulses and edible oil. The total number of recipients of social allowance has now reached 4,32,000 from 63,503 in 1998. A total of 1,27,155 tribal families have been provided with a total of 1,76,332 hectares in joint title deeds under the forest rights act. A total 3,49,000 families have been provided with houses. Although Tripura attained the top most position in the country in respect of the implementation of the MGNREGA programme for five consecutive years, the incumbent government at the centre has slashed the allotment of funds by 50 per cent.

The Left Front government has cease-lessly been implementing multifarious development programmes towards the welfare of the ST, SC, OBC and religious minorities as well as the physically handicapped. The government has also been taking strident steps towards combating the persecution of women.

While the ruling dispensation at the centre, subservient to the monopoly, imperialist capital and feudal lords, is working for ensuring super profits to such exploiters, the Left Front government’s development pro-grammes are, on the contrary, aimed at the socio-economic development of the poor and toiling masses. Just because such an alternative development model is intolerable to them, the RSS-guided, BJP-led government having the same class views as the Congress, is going all-out to destabilise the Left Front government right from 2014. Their single-point agenda is to create financial hurdles using the central administration and obstruct the implementation of the Left Front government’s welfare and development projects. With the Narendra Modi-led government having done away with the Planning Commission, the government of Tripura has been deprived of Rs 2,000 crore per year towards the Special Plan Assistance and other heads of expenditure. Besides, the flow of funds has fully dried up towards the ST/SC subplan that has been shut altogether, and the outlay in the MGNREGA has also been slashed by half, while the rates of outlay in other central projects have been modified, political discriminations are being made and comparatively inadequate fund now flows from the North-Eastern Council and from the department of North-East Region of the Centre. On the other hand, almost every week, the ministers of the BJP-led central government are now visiting and carrying out unbridled calumny campaign and spreading massive misinformation.They have taken to the field with lots of filthy lucre to draw the anti-Left Front political forces into the BJP camp. Out of the total of 10 Congress legislators, seven defected to the saffron brigade. Six of them had enrolled in Trinamool Congress for a few months in between.The unprincipled Congress and Trinamool Congress leaders and activists as well as anti-social elements sheltered by them have found a place in the saffron camp. Huge monies are funneled to suck the tribal-based parties into the BJP-led poll alliance, and they are being used to carry out various types of provocative and instigative activities.

The BJP has also joined hands with the Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT), the political wing of NLFT that has been raising the demand for dividing Tripura. To press for transforming the ADC into a separate state named Twipraland, the IPFT blocked the national highway and the railway for 10 days in July last year. In a printed leaflet they had specified that their agitation of blockade went underway in consultation with Jitendra Singh, minister of state in the prime minister’s office who had given them the green signal in May. This was not denied by the Modi-led government. It was during their agitation that the BJP had blockaded the govern-ment quarters complex of the chief minister and his cabinet colleagues in Agartala for 12 hours on July 18 last year.

In Tripura, a highly sensitive state, while the CPI(M) and the Left Front government have been going all-out to strengthen the tribal-non-tribal ethnic unity and harmony, keeping 19 tribal communities unified within a single ADC alongside safeguarding the Hindu-Muslim communal harmony, the RSS-BJP combine has been carrying out heinous conspiracies one after another over the last three years to ignite a tribal-Bengali conflagration to fracture the internal unity among the tribals, and to strike at the roots of Hindu-Muslim communal harmony. Ahead of RSS supremo Mohan Bhagwat’s five-day visit to Tripura in December last year, idols of Hindu gods and goddesses were vandalised at a few places in Agartala, in certain areas of Sonamura subdivision, under CM Manik Sarkar’s assembly constituency, and certain other places.

A section of the media has been purchased with a huge amount of money in order to carry out the campaign for the BJP. During BJP president Amit Shah’s visit to Tripura in June last year, he parleyed with such media-owners and said, ‘Look after us, and we’ll look after you’. And these media houses are carrying out the campaign of lies for BJP.

The Narendra Modi-led government has set even the CBI against CM Manik Sarkar and certain top leaders of the CPI(M), and the CBI tried to collect information till the second week of February by sending notices to certain newspaper offices in a bid to link the chief minister to chit fund scam.

The BJP tried hard to create law and order problems. A total of four CPI(M) activists were killed over the last one year by the BJP goons. All this was part of their futile conspiracy to postpone the polls. PM Narendra Modi and his cabinet colleagues including home minister, transport minister, finance minister, textiles minister and  BJP president, along with the chief ministers of the BJP-led states, are leading the campaign of slanders against the chief minister and the CPI(M). In their so called Vision Document, the BJP promised a job for every family, 7h Pay Commission etc. But conspicuously they are silent about their promise to their poll ally IPFT on Twipraland. Numerous RSS activists have been brought in from outside
Tripura, and crores of rupees are being given away to bribe the voters. Along with the IPFT, they are also organising violent attacks in different places to terrorise and threaten the voters.

The tribal and non-tribal population of the state have been safeguarding the LF government by combating various conspiracies. Over the last few months, thousands of men and women have been ploughing through the plains and hills of Tripura with red flags.  The people of Tripura are ready to form the Left Front government for the eighth time in the assembly polls, by combating all evil machinations of the saffron brigade.