September 22, 2019
TRIPURA: Youth Upsurge in Agartala

Rahul Sinha

WE are the youth, we want jobs. The slogan reverberated in the streets of Agartala, as thousands of youth marched through the city on September 16.

The city of Agartala witnessed waves after waves of youth walking past the route from Rabindra Bhavan to Vivekananda Stadium in an organised and determined march at the call of the DYFI and the TYF.

The two youth organisations had given the call of  "Agartala Cholo" with a  12 point charter of demands.

The youth conventions organised prior to the march had given a hint that the march will be a success. But no one had the slightest of idea that it will showcase this genuine feeling of disgust and anger towards the present BJP-IPFT dispensation of such a huge number of youth.

18 months have elapsed since the present government assumed office. The vision document of BJP had promised a lot. They promised employment in every household, filling up of 50,000 vacant posts in government departments, smart phones to the youth and so on. But not a single promise has been kept. Rather, hunger, joblessness and poverty have spread their shadows over Tripura. Democratic rights have been snatched away. Jobs in government departments are being abolished as the new government has taken the path of outsourcing. 

The reaction of the youth was thus retaliatory. The participants had braved all the threats and intimidations by local BJP hoodlums. There were not enough buses or vehicles as vehicle owners were threatened not to provide their vehicles. But the youth inundated the city despite all odds using trains and whatever vehicle they could avail.

By 11.30 am, the road in front of Ravindra Bhavan looked pretty small to accommodate the ever growing flow of youth. At around 12, the march started. The slogans, placards, flags brought back the feel that Agartala was accustomed to 18 months ago. As the march moved forward, people also responded by ushering support to them. Some waved at them; some were busy taking photographs as the procession moved ahead. The youth march demanded speedy implementation of election promises of filling up vacant posts in government departments. They demanded immediate reversal of enhanced fees in government hospitals, abolition of draconian ESMA, 250 days of work at a wage of Rs 340 in MGNREGA, job security for the 10,323 teachers, easy loan for youth, and restoration of democracy in the state.  Leader of opposition, Manik Sarkar and other former leaders of the youth front too joined the procession. 

At around 1.30 pm, the youth march reached the Vivekananda Stadium.  Here, a meeting was presided over by DYFI state president Palash Bhowmik and TYF president Rajendra Reang. DYFI state secretary Nabarun Deb, TYF general secretary Amalendu Debbarma and TYF secretariat member Sandhyarani Chakma addressed the meeting. 

The youth leaders said, the huge response to this march is proof enough that the youth of the state are ready for struggles. The people are fed up with this government and its anti-people, anti-youth, anti-democratic policies. They are trying to suppress our voice using terror tactics. But this won't succeed. The youth leaders said despite all the terrors, we have reached Vivekananda Stadium in such a huge number within just 18 months. If this government does not implement the promises of their vision document soon, we will barricade the assembly and civil secretariat. 

Install Webcams at Polling Booths: CPI(M) Urges Election Officer

GAUTAM Das, state secretary of CPI(M), Tripura, on September 17, urged the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) to install web cameras inside and outside polling booths for the upcoming bye-elections of Badharghat assembly constituency in West Tripura district.

In a letter to the CEO, Das said that during the 17th Lok Sabha elections, the present ruling party, BJP, indulged in massive rigging in most of the booths by pasting black paper or cloth on the face of the webcams installed inside the polling booths to hide their misdeeds. The Election Commission of India had ordered re-poll in 168 booths after checking webcam records, though the demand was made for more booths.

“I have come to know that in the ensuing bye-election of 14-Badharghat (SC) Assembly constituency, no arrangement has been made to install webcams inside or outside the booths. This will tantamount to indulgence in rigging by the ruling party hoodlums,” he said in the letter. 

Das asked the officer to deploy adequate number of paramilitary forces in all the booth areas to generate confidence among the voters. He also requested the CEO to take all necessary measures to help the polling agents of all contesting political parties discharge their duties and responsibilities.