Agartala: The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and three opposition parties: TIPRA Motha, the CPIM and Congress are set for their first showdown in the 60-member Tripura assembly on Friday.

On Thursday, the BJP nominated Biswabandhu Sen as their speaker candidate. Sen, a four-time MLA from Dharmanagar in North Tripura district discharged his responsibility as Deputy Speaker in the last assembly.

An ex-Congressman, Sen has been twice elected to the state assembly on a BJP ticket. Flanked by senior BJP leaders, he submitted his nomination papers for the post of Speaker at the state assembly. Speaking on the occasion, senior BJP leader and Power Minister Ratan Lal Nath sought cooperation from all the opposition parties for the election.

He said, “Even though we have the majority numbers, we hope the opposition parties will respect the decorum of the house and withdraw the nomination of their candidate. In the Assembly, the opposition and treasury benches have a common goal which is the welfare of the public and the development of the state. We shall reach out to the MLAs of opposition political parties seeking their support for our candidate.”

To a query about the Congress’s confidence, Nath said, “They are always confident. One of their leaders even predicted BJP’s tally going below double digits. I must say, he knows English far better than others but he always cuts a sorry figure in (poll) mathematics. So my advice to him is to learn mathematics from us.”

Speaking to media persons, Speaker candidate Biswabandhu Sen said, “The party has shown confidence in me. The Chief Minister and other senior leaders of the party have proposed my name. I shall try to live up to the expectations of my party.”

Congress has nominated veteran Gopal Chandra Roy who beat BJP state president Rajib Bhattacharjee in the just concluded elections. Tripura Pradesh Congress Committee President Birajit Sinha said, “Gopal Chandra Roy is a combined candidate of CPIM, Congress and TIPRA Motha. After consultation, all the parties agreed that Roy should be the face of opposition parties for the post of Speaker.”

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The Opposition parties have altogether 27 (TIPRA 13, CPIM 11 and Congress 3) MLAs while the BJP’s total strength stands at 32 after the resignation of Pratima Bhoumik.

Meanwhile, it is also worthy to be mentioned here that TIPRA Motha has been accorded the status of the main opposition party and former Deputy Chief Executive Member of TTAADC Animesh Debbarma will be the Leader of the Opposition.

Even though Congress claimed TIPRA Motha supported Gopal Chandra Roy, none of the TIPRA MLAs escorted Roy during the nomination submission. 

Also Read | Tripura: Interlocutor by March 27, says Pradyot after Amit Shah’s call 

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