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Why INDIA alliance fails to make its headway in Tripura bypolls?

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Tripura, Sep 11: The Tripura bypolls have proved that the INDIA alliance has failed to take off in the Northeast in their first attempt during the recently concluded Tripura bypolls.

Once again, the saffron party has registered a thumping victory in the Boxanagar assembly seats, which were dominated by Muslims.

While the BJP retained Dhanpur, it wrested Boxanagar from the CPI (M), registering a dramatic rise in vote share in the seat from 37.76 percent in the February 2023 assembly polls to 87.97 percent in the September 5 bypoll.

Somehow, the INDIA alliance could not make its presence felt among the voters. They could not connect with the people because of their poor strategy during the elections.

The failure of INDIA alliance has been analysed after the Congress’s decision to not field any candidate from the Boxanagar seat also led to a collapse of its organisational base in the area, which borders Bangladesh.

Billal Miah, two-term Congress MLA from Boxanagar, quit the Congress and joined BJP in the presence of Chief Minister Manik Saha on 24 August. Miah had served as the Congress’s working president in the state, as well as a minister in the last government led by the party in the state between 1988 and 1993.

On the other hand, the CPI(M) alleged that due to widespread rigging and intimidation of voters, the BJP won the Boxanagar assembly constituency in the recently held by-polls in Tripura.

The CPI (M) won the seat merely six months ago, but this time, a Muslim candidate fielded by the BJP registered victory from the seat.

Eventually, though the Congress largely stayed away from addressing any rally in favour of the CPI(M) candidate and instead appealed to people to vote for the INDIA alliance, it did not hide its displeasure even after the declaration of results.

The BJP denied the allegation of the CPI (M) and said its electoral performance in Boxanagar and Dhanpur heralded the beginning of a new era in the state’s politics where “appeasement” will have no takers.

“Our party believes in the “Sabka saath, Sabka vikas” moto. We believed in all-round development. We work for that, and the result has been reflected in the recently concluded by-polls,” said a BJP member.

According to the 2011 census, Muslims make up more than 50 percent of the population of Boxanagar.

After winning by-elections, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Saha told reporters, “The politics of appeasement that went on for years ended today.” This divide-and-rule policy and appeasement to reduce a community to a voting bloc will not work anymore. The minority community has blessed us with their support, responding to the slogan Sabka saath, vikas.vikas.”.

The Boxanagar by-election was necessitated by the death of Samsul Haque, the sitting CPI(M) MLA. Haque’s son Mizan Hossain contested the bypoll on a CPI(M) ticket and was trounced by Tafajjal Hossain of the BJP.

On the other hand, the CPI (M) stated that the by-poll results did not reflect the sentiments of the people.

“The result vindicates our position that rigging was widespread. Merely six months ago, our candidate won Boxanagar by nearly 5,000 votes. And this time our candidate could poll only 3,000 votes. This is clearly not a reflection of the choice of the electorate. The BJP has turned Tripura into a laboratory of autocratic policies,” CPI(M) state secretary Jitendra Chaudhury stated.

Also read: India beat Bangladesh by 2-0 to emerge as the SAFF U16 Champions

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