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Left Front unilaterally announce candidates for Tripura by-elections

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Agartala, August 13: The political landscape in Tripura is heating up as amid discussions between opposition parties, including TIPRA Motha, CPIM, and Congress, regarding a united front against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the upcoming assembly by-elections set for early next month, in an unexpected move, on Sunday the CPIM-led Left Front had unilaterally announced its candidates for both seats, while also extending an appeal to its opposition allies to join forces in “preserving democracy.”

Addressing the media during an evening press briefing in Agartala, Narayan Kar, convener of the Tripura Left Front, stated, “Under the BJP’s rule in Tripura, the fundamental principles of the constitution and democracy are under attack. The government’s actions have stifled opposition voices, and political activities are essentially banned in areas like Dhanpur and Boxanagar, where our party offices have been denied. Despite the pressing challenges of food scarcity, unemployment, and a diminishing democratic environment, we are resolute in our fight. We have decided to contest both the Dhanpur and Boxanagar seats.”

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Kar, a former Member of the Parliament, announced that Md. Mijan Hussein, son of the late Shamsul Haque, a former CPIM legislator from the Boxanagar constituency, will be contesting in his father’s seat while, Kaushik Chanda, who contested for the Dhanpur seat in the general assembly elections earlier this year following former Chief Minister Manik Sarkar’s departure, will be seeking the same seat once again.

The Left Front’s chosen candidates are set to file their nomination papers at the Sonamura Sub-Divisional Magistrate’s (SDM) office on the upcoming Monday.

When questioned about the unilateral decision to announce candidates, Left Front leaders explained, “We presented our stance that the Boxanagar and Dhanpur seats hold historical significance for the Left Front. The other parties engaged in discussions did not raise objections. However, after observing their subsequent statements to the media, we have proceeded with our candidates.”

However, this unilateral move by the Left Front has left its potential allies less than pleased. Concurrently, the Left parties are urging the Congress and TIPRA Motha to support their candidates in the interest of safeguarding democracy.

Narayan Kar emphasized, “We implore all non-BJP parties to unite against them and take a proactive role. We call upon the Congress and all fellow parties to come together, consolidate the anti-BJP votes, and contribute to our collective effort in protecting democracy.”

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Jitendra Chaudhury, the Tripura CPIM state secretary and a MLA, highlighted how the BJP capitalized on divided opposition votes in the recent general assembly polls, leading to their victory.

He expressed his concerns, stating, “The BJP seems to have disregarded this lesson, persisting with their alleged ‘anti-people policies’. In a preliminary meeting involving CPIM, Congress, and TIPRA Motha representatives, we discussed the imperative of preventing the fragmentation of anti-BJP votes. CPIM has a longstanding tradition of contesting the two seats up for by-election. We appeal to Congress and TIPRA Motha for cooperation not just in the upcoming by-poll but in a sustained effort to uphold democracy.”

The by-elections for the Boxanagar and Dhanpur seats were necessitated by the passing of CPM MLA Samsul Haque, who had previously won the Boxanagar constituency with a CPIM ticket, and the resignation of Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Pratima Bhoumik, who secured a BJP victory in the Dhanpur seat.

Notably, in the general assembly elections, CPIM candidate Kaushik Chanda lost to Pratima Bhoumik by a margin of 3,500 votes, while Md. Shamshul Haque emerged victorious with a lead of 4,849 votes.

Also read: Manipur: Kuki-Zo women stage protest at Kangpokpi against Amit Shah’s remark in parliament

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