Agartala: Tripura Chief Minister Manik Saha on Sunday described the upcoming by-elections as an acid test for the ruling BJP and hoped that voters will give a befitting reply to those who necessitated the “untimely polls”.
By-elections to Agartala, Town Bardowali (West Tripura district), Surma (Dhalai) and Jubarajnagar (North Tripura) assembly constituencies are scheduled to be held on June 23 and results will be declared on June 26. Assembly elections to the 60-member House will be held early next year.
“It would have been better had the by-elections been avoided as assembly elections will be held within the next six months,” Saha told reporters.
The dentist-turned-chief minister, who took over the baton from Biplab Kumar Deb in May, is contesting from Town Bardowali seat.
“Voters will give a befitting reply to those for whom the by-election was necessitated,” Saha said in reference to turncoats. The bypolls were necessitated after three BJP MLAs quit the party and the assembly and a CPI(M) legislator died.
“Although the BJP considers every election as final, the upcoming bypolls will be an acid test for the ruling dispensation. If our strategy for the by-elections succeeds, we will replicate it in next year’s assembly elections, else we will have to bring a change to it,” he said.
Claiming that the BJP has an edge in the bypolls, Saha said feedback from the people seems encouraging.
“There has been no trouble after the announcement of candidates. All BJP nominees will submit their nomination papers on Monday. Don’t be surprised if Deb remains present during the submission of the documents,” he said.
The former chief minister is currently in Delhi with his family.
“The BJP is trying to bring a new culture in politics which will be free from violence and instability. Stray incidents do happen during an election but overall, people are able to go to polling stations and exercise their democratic rights in a festive mood. The by-elections will also be peaceful,” he said.
On his chances of winning the seat he is contesting, the 69-year-old dental surgeon said, “For the first time, a chief minister is seeking a mandate from the voters of Town Bardowali, which is an advantage for me. Besides, I am a familiar face to the people of the constituency because of my social and professional work. Also, I reside here.”
Saha, who is not a member of the assembly, was sworn in as the new chief minister on May 15, a day after Deb stepped down from the post.
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