In a surprising and distinguished achievement, the BJP has won 85 per cent of the seats uncontested in the Panchayat polls in Tripura. Opposition parties have alleged that the ruling BJP led by CM Biplab Kumar Deb is threatening and attacking their candidates. Opposition parties said that BJP leaders did not allow them to file nominations. The Panchayat polls is scheduled to be held in the state on July 27 and the counting will take place on July 31.
According to Prasenjit Bhattacharya, Secretary of the State Election Commission, of the total 6,646 seats comprising Gram Panchayats, Panchayat Samities and Zilla Parishads, the BJP has won 5,652 seats uncontested. Now, polling will be held for around 850 Gram Panchayats, 85 Panchayat Samities and 80 Zilla Parishad seats. Tripura has a total 591 Gram Panchayats having 6,111 seats, 35 Panchayat Samities with 419 seats and eight Zilla Parishads having 116 seats. July 11 was the last date for withdrawal of nominations. Altogether, 12,03,070 voters, including 6,16,893 males and 5, 86,176 women will exercise their franchise at 2,623 polling stations between 7 am to 4 pm on the polling day. Bhattacharya said, “White ballot papers would be used for Gram Panchayat polls, pink ones for Panchayat Samities and green papers for Zilla Parishads.”
Talking with Afternoon Voice, Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) or SUCI(C) leader Arun Kumar Bhowmik said, “The ruling party BJP did not allow candidates of other parties to file nominations. Is it democracy? No, democracy is not prevailing in Tripura. It is autocracy. They have muscle and money power. Media is also with them. That is why they won panchayat polls uncontested. The day will come, when people will be weary of these undemocratic ways. They will protest it. The day will come and we are waiting for this.”
The Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist)’ or SUCI(C), previously called the Socialist Unity Centre of India and “Socialist Unity Centre” is a communist party in India. The party was founded by Shibdas Ghosh, Nihar Mukherjee, and others in 1948. SUCI(C) follows a Marxist-Leninist ideological line formulated by Shibdas Ghosh. The party rejects political ideas such as glasnost and perestroika as revisionist and claims to uphold the original intent of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, and the thoughts of Ghosh.
The CPI(M) and the Congress have alleged that their candidates were threatened and attacked by the BJP-backed hooligans. They have also accused armed gangs of the BJP of preventing their candidates from filing their nomination papers during the scheduled nomination period from July 1 to July 8. The CPI(M) claimed that about 121 party candidates were forced to withdraw their nomination papers on the last day of withdrawal on July 11. The party said, “Physical attacks on candidates and attacks on CPI (M) offices and leaders such as on the North Tripura district committee and sub-divisional office in Dharmanagar were resorted to, creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.”
On the other hand, Rebati Tripura, BJP MP from the Tripura East Lok Sabha constituency, said, “In the recent Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won both seats of Tripura. The situation in the state is such that opposition parties are not getting candidates to field in the Panchayat elections. Therefore, a large number of BJP candidates won elections uncontested. People have seen the Congress and the CPI (M). They do not like to contest elections on their tickets. During the Lok Sabha polls, the Tripura Congress President Pradyut Kishore Deb Barman assaulted people and accused the BJP of thrashing common man. Similarly, in Panchayat elections, they are alleging that the BJP is threatening the candidates of the opposition parties. They have lost the support of the voters but they have to say something.”
Prabir Debnath of the Amra Bangali party said, “An atmosphere of fear is strongly prevailing in the state as well the entire country. From news media to independent institutions — all are bowing down in front of the frightening power holders. Common men are being denied their rights. Indian democracy is under threat. However, such a situation won’t continue for long. People especially the youth will stand against it and defeat the miscreants if they don’t check their acts.”
Vice-president of the state Congress unit Tapas Dey also accused the BJP of threatening their candidates. He said, “They (BJP) did not allow many of our (Congress) candidates to file nominations and launched physical attacks on them and our supporters during filing of nominations. We were forced to withdraw 124 candidates from the fray in the face of terror by BJP goons.”
BJP spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharya also dismissed their allegations. He said that the candidates of the two opposition parties did not file nomination because they had lost their support base. They could sense their defeat in advance. So, they did not file nominations.
By Vijay Panchal