Dissent issue persists at BJP in Tripura under new CM Manik Saha

By Ashis Biswas

Just eight months away from assembly elections, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Tripura is not yet a united house. The central leadership of the BJP may have sought to combat negative anti-incumbent tendencies among ordinary voters by replacing Mr. Biplab Deb as Chief Minister with his colleague Mr. Manik Saha., But that has not helped the rudders a lot so far.

This is a pre-election tactic the BJP has used before and in some states it has worked. Mr. Deb’s tenure in Tripura has been eventful, with the center generously funding the state’s infrastructure development projects. These include upgrading/upgrading the state airport, providing it with superior internet facilities, expanding its rail/road connections to Bangladesh and Kolkata, among others. Some projects are still being implemented, but in general, central/state governments can say that they have made efforts to help Tripura overcome its past of poor development and economic backwardness.

The downside is a poor law and order situation, where the main opposition parties, the CPI(M) and the Congress parties, complain of grossly unfair election tactics and sustained intimidation against their cadres/supporters. Democratic practices and norms have been systematically flouted by the BJP under Mr. Deb, who has also lost friends and supporters to controversial comments and statements on occasion. He had been arrested by senior leaders for this.

The state party itself has been split into pro and anti-Deb factions, as the chief minister fired a minister on one occasion and ousted a few other leaders within the organization. The divisions could not be concealed and despite the changing of guards at the top, internal party differences remain as sharp as ever. This became evident during the demonstration of dissenting elements over the selection of Mr. Saha as the new chief minister. Mr. Deb, it must be emphasized, continues to remain effective within the organization, according to Agartala-based media.

In the 2023 Assembly polls, Trinamool Congress will be a major player. Congressmen and CPI(M) leaders allege that, like in Goa and Tripura earlier, the main objective of the TMC in Tripura is to help the BJP by reducing the vote share traditionally won by the secular opposition , which is strongly denied by the leaders of the TMC. His first foray into the state in 2021 was not too successful. His very expensive pre-election campaign led by great leaders like MP Abhishek Banerjee and others failed to win him a single seat in the municipal polls!

Moreover, the TMC’s familiar strategy for “growth,” the main part of which is weaning disgruntled leaders and workers from other parties, has not worked over the years. The logic of the TMC is that these leaders have a local base and following that helps a new party take root more quickly. It would take much longer for a new party to start organizing from the ground up.

Unfortunately, whether Congress or BJP, most leaders/others who joined the TMC wasted little time deserting their new party under one pretext or another. The latest example occurred a few days ago when Mr. Ashis Saha, a former BJP leader who had joined the TMC, quit the party announcing that he (the TNC) had no program or ideology and no wanted to cut the secular vote, to help the BJP!

Some senior TMC leaders believe that their policy of encouraging defections from other parties would sometimes backfire, especially in small states like Goa or those in the North East. They had raised the issue in internal party discussions. But neither Mr Banerjee nor TMC adviser, pollster Prashant Kishor whose agency IPAC had carried out pre-election polls in Tripura, Goa and elsewhere before the party contested local elections, saw reason to discourage people from other parties from joining: their clincher was that the TMC needed to follow a path of growth, which meant facing some risks when it came to establishing organizations in new areas.

As things stand, there may be anti-B JP sentiments among a significant portion of voters. While the power once enjoyed by Congress may have diminished, leftist forces led by the CPI(M) and various tribal groups led by the indigenous IPFT still have a large following among the people. Despite its support for the BJP, the IPFT may well lead to a more difficult negotiation in the pre-election talks with the saffron party. As with most alliances, there are known differences between tribal leaders and the BJP, which has led tribal extremists to sometimes call for a “pause”. They sometimes lobbied for a restoration of tribal rule as well.

The LF had also ruled Tripura for many years before the B JP defeated it in the 2018 elections. Even under BJP rule, there is hardly anyone in Tripura who can point an accusing finger at the former minister Chief of CPI(M), the universally respected Mr. Manik Sarkar. The BJP’s main grouse against the long reign of the left is corruption, lack of progress and economic growth. Youth unemployment peaked as there was little growth in industries.

As far as the BJP is concerned, the trend of sustained dissent within the state party against what are believed to be the autocratic and even dictatorial paths pursued by former CM Mr Deb may be a bigger issue for the central direction than other problems. The TMC’s presence on the fringes of election battles presents a unique opportunity for disgruntled BJP leaders/followers to inflict significant damage on their current opponents within the party in the days ahead unless better discipline prevails in the party. within the saffron party. Luckily, the BJP state has some free time to sort out some internal issues. And central management is serious about solving problems. (API Service)

The post Dissidence Issue Still Dogging BJP In Tripura Under New CM Manik Saha first appeared on IPA Newspack.

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