Tripura Congress president Pradyot Kishore Manikya DebBarman (left) addressing media persons in Agartala on Thursday

Agartala: With an eye on the forthcoming Gram Panchayat elections, Tripura Congress president Pradyot Kishore Manikya DebBarman said that his party would contest in all seats of the three-tier polls scheduled to be held in July.

Addressing a press conference, the Congress president said, “The Congress party will contest in all the seats of Gram Panchayat. We will be ready for the date of the elections to be declared and we will not leave the field empty for the ruling BJP. If free-and-fair elections are held in state, we shall definitely win the elections.”

The party will contest the rural body elections on ‘local issues’ like safe drinking water, higher wages, rural healthcare services, etc.

The BJP, which bagged just 1.5% vote share in the state assembly elections in 2013, got a major hike from there and formed the government as a single majority party with over 43% vote share in 2018. The party also got additional support from the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT).

On the other hand, CPI (M), which ruled the state for over 25 long years, was reduced to a figure of 16 MLAs in the 60-member Assembly. The Congress, which had 1.8% vote share in the last Assembly elections, rose to grab nearly 30% vote share in the recently-concluded Lok Sabha elections.

Pradyot said that his party would field candidates in all the seats of three-tier panchayat bodies, including 6,111 seats in 591 Gram Panchayats, 419 seats in 35 Panchayat Samiti bodies and 116 seats in eight Zilla Parishads.

Also Read: Tripura: IPFT vice-president joins Congress ahead of LS polls

He claimed his party will hold its tempo from Lok Sabha results and secure victory in rural body elections, if free-and-fair elections are held.

When asked if Congress would suffer from division of votes at the hands of the Communist party, Pradyot said he was campaigning across Tripura for last few weeks but didn’t find any Left leaders in the field.

“We have been campaigning in different parts of the state. We didn’t find any Left leaders there. They have given us a free hand,” he said.

Earlier in September last year, 3,207 different gram panchayat bodies, 161 seats of panchayat Samit and 18 zilla parishad seats underwent bye-elections.

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