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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Tripura BJP Worried Over Factional Disputes

In Tripura, the ruling BJP continues to be hit by factionalism and organisational problems, despite efforts made by senior Delhi-based leaders to improve discipline. As things stand, with parties gearing up for the 2023 Assembly polls, senior BJP leader Mahesh Singh, who played a major role in crafting the party’s electoral victory in Uttar Pradesh is hopeful that the ruling party would win a second term with a comfortable majority. Singh’s assertion comes in the wake of contrarian state-based media reports suggesting that the ruling BJP is a divided house.

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In Tripura, the ruling BJP continues to be hit by factionalism and organisational problems, despite efforts made by senior Delhi-based leaders to improve discipline. As things stand, with parties gearing up for the 2023 Assembly polls, senior BJP leader Mahesh Singh, who played a major role in crafting the party’s electoral victory in Uttar Pradesh is hopeful that the ruling party would win a second term with a comfortable majority. Singh’s assertion comes in the wake of contrarian state-based media reports suggesting that the ruling BJP is a divided house. BJP activists have for some time been split into rival camps following chief minister Manik Saha and ex-CM Biplab Deb. It is common knowledge that Deb had not relinquished his grip on the party organisation, despite having to step down as the top leader. The BJP’s national leadership took the step following major complaints of deterioration in the law and order situation and increasing corruption among other things. The choice of Saha as his successor was made primarily because he was the most non -controversial face within the party.

But now acrimony between different factions has reached a point where some state BJP leaders believed to be Deb loyalists, wrote to the central leadership some days ago, complaining against certain aspects of the present chief minister’s functioning. Apart from Singh, Sambit Patra, BJP spokesman, has also been busy meeting district leaders in recent days. The leadership is in the advanced stage of finally evaluating the respective merits of probable candidates for the coming Assembly polls in early 2023. In 2018, the BJP won 36 out of 60 seats in the Assembly, while 8 seats went to its ally, the Tribal Indigenous Peoples’ Front of Tripura. The outcome spelled the end of a 25-year-long tenure enjoyed by the CPI(M), signifying the political consolidation of the BJP in the northeast region. As with the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in West Bengal, the BJP as the ruling party stands accused of encouraging corruption and enjoying links with the drug smuggling syndicate. Law and order has worsened to a point where all opposition parties complain of not being allowed to function freely, with the police being run in a partisan manner.

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The tenor of its anti-BJP rants pits the TMC closer to the currently out-of-power CPI(M). Former chief minister Manik Sarkar remains the main left campaigner. In his rallies and other programs, he attacks the BJP for its total disregard of constitutional norms and alleges that there is no rule of law in the state under the saffron party. Among opposition parties, the CPI(M) has been more active than others. Left activists and supporters have been associated with the agitations conducted by various disaffected groups like students, nurses, jobless youths, victims of anti-social violence, etc. Meanwhile, the Congress party has organised protest rallies and marches against the ruling party on local issues. How the party functions under the veteran Mallikarjun Kharge as the new all-India president remains to be seen. The Congress is more active than before but the political trends in Tripura suggest that if the opposition parties fight the assembly elections separately in 2023, the BJP may get the advantage of a split in anti-BJP votes and come back to power for the second time.

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