Where is friendship, where is trick – how important is it for the BJP to remain aggressive in Tripura? - Newztezz Online


Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Where is friendship, where is trick – how important is it for the BJP to remain aggressive in Tripura?

The BJP hopes that Manik Saha will do some magic for the party in Tripura and the voter's resentment towards Biplab Kumar Deb will become secondary.

Tripura's ruling party BJP has stepped up its political game by targeting its opponents and adopting an aggressive posture to retain power. Campaigning for the elections to be held in Tripura on February 16 will come to an end on Tuesday evening.

BJP does not want to leave some stakes vacant to give chance to any other party. The party is calling its top leadership to address rallies in the state and woo the voters in its favor and forcefully present its stand on all issues.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed two election rallies at Ambasa and Radhakishorpur on Saturday. After this, Union Home Minister Amit Shah addressed a rally each at Chandipur in Unakoti district and Bishramganj in Sepahijala district on Sunday. Shah ended his tour by holding a roadshow in Agartala on Sunday evening.

The BJP is contesting the Tripura assembly elections after being on the backfoot due to the poor performance of its government in the state during the last five years. The party went on the backfoot especially during the first 50 months when Biplab Kumar Deb was the chief minister.

Why is BJP creating a new narrative?

Biplab Deb suffered from the problem of speaking without thinking as he made inappropriate statements even on issues that were not related to him or his state. His intention was to emerge as the poster boy of the Hindu community, which backfired.

After this, the BJP first told Deb to keep quiet and then in May last year removed him from the post of Chief Minister and appointed a much more sensible leader Manik Saha.

Apart from this, BJP has also decided to make its election campaign more aggressive and create a new narrative for Tripura elections. Due to the recent political developments, it became necessary for the party.

Always had an uneasy relationship

In Tripura, the decision of erstwhile arch-rivals Left Front and Congress party to join hands and forge a pre-poll alliance has irked the BJP.

The Left Front ruled Tripura for 35 years from 1978 to 1988 and 1993-2018 without any challenge. After this, BJP entered the fray five years ago to end the leftist rule. Meanwhile, the Congress party ruled the state between 1988 and 1993.

Both the parties hurled mud at each other, mutual enmity increased between them. As a result many rival activists were killed. They always had an uneasy relationship.

However, the political dynamics changed with the emergence of the BJP as a strong force in Tripura. After this, both the parties were forced to come together after ending their differences to counter the BJP.

Why is this so important?

PM Modi did not miss any opportunity to remind the voters of Tripura of the violent past shared by the Left Front and the Congress in the state and accused the two parties of wrestling in Kerala and befriending Tripura.

Modi said in his address, 'Beware of the double-edged sword of the Congress and the Left. They want to stop all the schemes that benefit the poor. He has innumerable slogans for the poor but he never understood their pain nor did he remove it.

The next day, Shah warned the voters of Tripura of Triple Trouble and called upon the people to vote for the BJP to prevent the return of Jungle Raj in the state.

The goal is to keep Tripura united

By triple trouble, Shah meant the new party, Tipra Motha. Though Tipra Motha is not a part of the Left-Congress alliance, Shah said they have a secret plan to divide Tripura as Tipra Motha is demanding a separate state for Tripura's tribals.

The BJP feels that its best chance of winning the election is to keep Tripura integrated with the rest of the country. Apart from this, the party wants to divert the attention of the voters from the poor performance of its government in the state and to attract them by talking about the double engine government for development. This strategy of the party has worked wonders for it in many states.

Reminding the voters of Tripura of the violence and carnage committed by Left Front and Congress workers in the past and instilling fear among them by talking about Jungle Raj is also part of BJP's strategy.

Friendly contest on four seats

The BJP is also targeting the Congress party's decision to hold a friendly contest against the Left Front on four seats as it was allotted only 13 seats against the 17 it wanted. The Left Front is contesting the remaining 47 seats.

Not only this, BJP is also betting on the division of votes for its own benefit. Tipra Motha has fielded candidates in 28 tribal-dominated constituencies and a large number of seats apart from the presence of West Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress. The BJP hopes that the multi-cornered contest and the resulting division of votes will make its task a little easier.

Retaining power in Tripura is crucial for the BJP after being voted out of power in Himachal Pradesh late last year. Politically, Tripura can be counted as a relatively small state, but losing power could be a huge loss for the BJP as it is one of the nine states where elections are due this year

How successful will BJP's move be?

The current Chief Minister of Tripura, Manik Saha, would have had a short tenure of just nine months to turn things around in the party's favor.

The trick of changing the Chief Minister in Uttarakhand worked wonders for the BJP. Just eight months before the assembly elections last year, the party made Pushkar Singh Dhami the chief minister.

Dhami didn't do any magic but he managed to instill new hope in the party. For the first time since Uttarakhand was carved out of Uttar Pradesh in November 2000, the BJP created history by becoming the first party to remain in power continuously under his leadership.

BJP is hoping that Manik Saha will do some magic for the party like Dhami in Tripura and voters' resentment towards Biplab Kumar Deb will become secondary.

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author only. )

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