File image of former Tripura CM Manik Sarkar

Agartala: Alleging that the democratic rights of voters were snatched by the ruling BJP and its ally during the latest panchayats and civic bodies elections in Tripura, former chief minister and CPI(M) leader Manik Sarkar on Wednesday appealed the people to exercise their franchise “fearlessly” in the upcoming by-polls.

If the saffron party faces defeat in the June 23 by-elections to four assembly constituencies, it will “change the political discourse” ahead of the next year’s state elections, he claimed.

“Don’t consider it as a by-election. If you ensure the defeat of the present dispensation in the four assembly seats, it will change the political discourse of the state,” he said in an election rally in North Tripura’s Panisagar area.

The by-polls will be held in Agartala, Town Bardowali, Yubarajnagar and Surma, and the counting of votes will take place on June 26.

“If you are stopped on your way to polling stations, you must protest and ensure that you cast your votes. People must exercise their franchise fearlessly. The BJP and its ally snatched the democratic rights of voters in panchayats and civic body polls. This should not be allowed this time,” Sarkar said while addressing the rally.

He also urged people to make sure that “not a single vote is wasted”.

Lashing out at the BJP-led government, the veteran CPI(M) leader said poor people are facing hardship due to the price rise of fuel and essential items.

The present dispensation “cheated the people and there has been no fresh recruitment in the government sector , he said.

The government employees, who had thought the BJP would implement the 7th pay commission recommendation, voted out the Left Front in the 2018 assembly elections. They are now expressing their frustrations. The promise of providing alternative employment to 10,323 teachers who lost their jobs has not been fulfilled,” Sarkar said.

Denying his allegations, BJP chief spokesperson Subrata Chakraborty said the party would go to the 2023 assembly elections with its performance report.

He said the “CPI(M) has been trying to mislead people as the Left party knows they will be rejected by the people in the by-elections”.

The government has been trying to fulfil the promises of the vision document despite the Covid pandemic. We hope that people will repose faith in the BJP in the next year’s assembly polls , he added.

Also read: Tripura CM confident he will bag 95 per cent votes in by-poll

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