Vol. XLII No. 49 December 09, 2018

Meanwhile in Tripura

Rahul Sinha

Saffron Terror Unleashed to Turn Urban By-poll a Farce

A FRESH spell of attacks has been started by the BJP in Tripura to stop the Left Front and other opposition parties from filing nomination in the upcoming by-election to the urban local bodies. The polling for 158 vacant seats in 15 urban local bodies including four in Agartala Municipal Corporation will be held on December 22. December 04, was the last date of filing nominations. According to the figures available with the State Election Commission, almost 50 per cent of the seats (if not more) will go to the BJP uncontested. The Left Front could submit nominations in 78 of the seats, Congress submitted in 77. Left Front could not submit nominations in five of the local bodies. These are Khowai, Teliamurra, Jirania, Ranirbazar and Kamalpur. In Khowai, on December 04, Tuesday, as the CPI(M) candidates assembled in the Party district committee office before proceeding to the SDM’s office, BJP hooligans in a large number assembled there and gheraoed the office. The candidates were not allowed to go outside till the time of filing of nominations was over. Even after repeated requests, police took no action against the BJP hoodlums. Here the Congress office was also attacked to stop the candidates from filing nominations. In Jirania and Ranirbazar, the cars of CPI(M) state secretariat members Manik Dey and Radhacharan Debbarma were attacked as they were accompanying the candidates for Ranirbazar and Jirania. The goons attacked and vandalised four vehicles in front of police. In Kamalpur, the entire route to SDM’s office was taken over by the BJP goons not allowing anyone to go and submit nominations.

Defying terror, CPI(M) candidates submitted nomination papers in Santirbazar, Belonia, Udaypur, Panisagar, Melaghar, Bishalgarh, Kumarghat, Kailashahar and Agartala. But in almost all the places, even after submitting nominations, attacks on the houses of the candidates and proposers are continuing, demanding them to withdraw nominations. In the night of December 03, the houses CPI(M)  candidates of Belonia municipal council were attacked. In Udaypur, the houses of the CPI(M) candidates were vandalised. In Santirbazar too, the picture was no different.  In Melaghar, the BJP goons killed a dog and buried it in front of the house of CPI(M) candidate Suresh Das to give a hint of the dire consequence he might face in case he contested.

On December 04, a CPI(M) delegation led by Party Central Committee member Badal Choudhury visited the houses of the CPI(M) candidates in Belonia and Udaypur. He led a delegation of CPI(M) leaders who met the SPs of South Tripura and Gomati districts demanding security of the Left Front candidates. Badal Choudhury said the BJP is doing everything possible to make this by-election a complete mockery of democracy and this is dangerous for democracy. BJP is doing this from fear. They are afraid of a fair election as these polls will see the people’s response to the nine-months of misrule of BJP.

In the evening of December 04, CPI(M) state secretary Gautam Das said those who have braved all the attacks and threats to submit nomination papers are now facing death threats if they don’t withdraw the nominations. The police has completely failed to provide security to the CPI(M) candidates despite assurance by the DGP and  ADG (law and order). In Khowai, when the CPI(M) office was gheraoed by the BJP goons, the state Police HQ and the SP was rang up several times, but they didn’t even pick up the phone.  They are doing so at the instructions of the political bosses, alleged Gautam Das. He demanded that the Left Front candidates and their families must be given police protection so that they are not forced to withdraw.

The Left Front has submitted nominations in all 15 seats of Belonia municipal council, 13 of the 21 seats of Udaypur municipal corporation, all of the 11 seats of Panisagar Nagar panchayat, all of the 6 seats in Kailashahar municipal council, 8 of the 13 seats in Melaghar municipal council, in 5 seats of Santirbazar municipal council, in all the 5 seats of Kumarghat municipal council, 11 of the 15 seats of Bishalgarh municipal council and in all 4 seats of Agartala municipal corporation.