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Congress hopes anti-incumbency factors to work in Tripura West LS seat

BJP banks on welfare schemes

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AGARTALA, April 17: Former Tripura CM and BJP nominee Biplab Kumar Deb is banking on the development and welfare schemes of the government to win the Tripura West Lok Sabha constituency while his opponent Asis Kumar Sabha of Congress is hopeful that the anti-incumbency factor will help him win the elections.

Deb, who built a solid BJP organisational base in the northeastern state and led the saffron party to form its first government in Tripura in 2018 ending the 25-year-old CPI(M) rule in the state, is hopeful of winning the seat by a huge margin as the BJP government has taken several welfare measures and infrastructure projects in the state.

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The Tripura West parliamentary constituency, an unreserved seat comprises of 30 Assembly segments and has a considerable number of ST and minority voters apart from Bengali voters.

Minority voters are key in at least nine Assembly segments while tribal voters appear to be a factor in five non-ST Assembly seats.

Pratima Bhoumik had won the Tripura West Lok Sabha seat in 2019 by over 3 lakh votes by defeating Congress nominee Subal Bhowmik.

A lot has changed in the political landscape of the constituency since the 2019 Lok Sabha election as Subal Bhowmik has joined the BJP and is now the saffron party’s state vice president and the CPI(M) has now teamed up with the Congress to take on the saffron party.

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BJP state general secretary Amit Rakshit claimed that Deb’s winning margin will be more than the margin of Pratima Bhoumik in 2019.

“In the 2019 Lok Sabha election, our candidate won by a margin of more than 3 lakh votes and this time it may cross the margin because of Modi’s magic and popularity of former Chief Minister (Biplab Kumar Deb) among women and youths,” he said.

“The BJP is seeking votes for development and welfare of the poor and lower middle class. It is a fact, that Modi ji has rolled out enormous welfare schemes – PMAY, Jal Se Nal, Ayushman Bharat, Ujjawala Yojana and free rice. Besides, the state has got six national highways and better rail connectivity. Therefore, the advantage will go to the BJP’s side in the elections,” said Sanjib Deb, a senior journalist.

He, however, said unemployment appears to be a major factor in the parliamentary election.

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“Tripura has traditionally depended on jobs in the government sector. It is true the BJP government failed to fill up vacant posts at the expected level. More so, skyrocketing prices of essential items and medicines will also impact the electoral outcome”, he said.

“There is no doubt an anti-incumbency wave is sweeping Tripura. The people are angry over the growing unemployment, price rise, rise in medicine prices, drug addiction over the past few years. But, the BJP which is mainly depending on welfare schemes is likely to navigate the anti-incumbency factor by using its strong organisational set-up,” Sekhar Dutta, a poll strategist told PTI.

When asked about the Congress party candidate’s prospect (in Tripura West) Lok Sabha seat, senior Congress MLA Sudip Roy Barman alleged that people are angry with the Modi government’s rule over the past 10 years and will give a fitting reply in the elections.

“If 80 per cent of voting remains free, fair and peaceful, the Congress will win the Lok Sabha seat. We urge the Election Commission of India (ECI) to ensure a conducive atmosphere for peaceful and fair election,” Roy Barman said.

“During the election campaign, we focused on the impending threat to the constitution and democracy under the Narendra Modi government. If they return to power then the country’s secular fabric will be dismantled to pave the way for autocratic rule. We do believe, the people will give their mandate in favour of INDIA Bloc,” he said. (PTI)

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