Tripura: Barman urges CPI(M) not to give 'oxygen' to BJP by dividing votes
Congress MLA Sudip Roy Barman

Agartala: Senior Tripura Congress MLA Sudip Roy Barman has appealed to the CPI(M) to support the grand old party in its fight to unseat the BJP government in the state, as contesting in polls separately will divide opposition votes and give oxygen to the saffron camp.

Roy Barman, a former minister, asked why the left party with its ideology of socialism, democracy and secularism would not join the Congress, which also believes in the same principles, in the battle for the Assembly election which is due in the northeastern state next year.

His statement came after the CPI(M) urged anti-BJP and secular forces to stitch a political alliance to defeat the saffron party’s anti-people and anti-Constitutional activities.

Why will you indulge in division of votes to give oxygen to the fascist party and government? Only the Congress can give an alternative government to fulfil the aspirations of the people, he said at a party programme at Sonamura in Sepahijala district.

The Congress cannot defeat the BJP alone and needs allies, the lone MLA of the party said.

Roy Barman was addressing a programme on Wednesday where over 3000 supporters of the BJP, CPI(M) and the TMC joined the Congress in presence of party general secretary Ajay Kumar, AICC secretary Szarita Laitphlang and TPCC president Birajit Sinha.

Roy Barman quit the BJP and returned to Congress in February and defeated the saffron party’s candidate in a by-poll to the Agartala constituency in June. He became the only Congress MLA in the House after the party’s complete rout in the 2018 assembly polls.

In that election, around 40 percent of votes of the Congress was shifted to the BJP, which had polled less than 2 percent vote in 2013.

The BJP had also snatched away around 7 per cent of votes from the CPI(M) led Left Front taking its total vote share to 44 per cent in the 2018 election. The CPI(M)’s vote share has fallen from 52 per cent to 45 per cent while the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) had bagged 7 per cent votes.

In the 60-member House, the BJP has 36 MLAs while its ally IPFT has seven. The CPI(M) which lost power in 2018 after ruling the state for 25 years has 15 seats. The Congress has one member while one seat is vacant.

Roy Barman on Monday had announced that the party will leave no stone unturned to defeat the saffron party in the 2023 elections, an affirmation which was seen as indicative of extending a hand towards the CPI(M) and the new tribal party TIPRA led by former royal Prodyot Kishore Deb Barman.

Roy Barman also slammed the BJP for allegedly making Tripura “heaven for drug peddlers”.

They had promised to make our state drug-free but what we see is the small state is floating on drugs. Everybody knows who are harbouring drug paddlers, he said.

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