Electioneering picking up gradually in Tripura

In Tripura, electioneering is gradually picking up with the election machinery stepping up activities by conducting training programmes for the polling staff and micro-observers The state is going to poll in two phases on the 19th & 26th of April.

Akashvani correspondent reports that the number of eligible voters for the two Lok Sabha seats in Tripura stands above 28.57 lakh. There are 14 lakh 35 thousand male voters and 14 lakh 22 thousand female voters in the state. The gender ratio in the constituency is 1000: 991. Out of the total 1,664 polling stations in the Tripura West constituency, 1506 polling stations are located in rural areas and only 158 polling stations are in urban areas. Tripura which is surrounded on three sides by Bangladesh, has around 70% of its 38 lakh population as non-tribals, mostly Bengali speaking and the rest 30% are tribal population.  The Tripura (West) seat is an unreserved seat, yet over 25% of voters here are tribals. As state politics revolves around tribal issues, it appears to have a bearing in the current Parliament elections too.

The Election Commission has made adequate preparations to conduct the polls in a free, fair, transparent and peaceful manner. The state had earlier been a witness to a decade-long insurgency, which has now come down at its ebb. In the last few months, several cadres of banned militant outfits (NLFT) have put down their weapons and surrendered themselves.

One interesting feature is that, even though a large section of the tribal population – now and then – have been living in remote areas and in scattered hamlets, their participation in electoral politics has been encouraging till date. The election data shows that polling percentage in any assembly and Lok Sabha elections in the state during the last 40 years has been 90% and above. The state recorded a massive 89 % voting during the last election in 2019.

 

In the current political scene, it is most likely that there would be a two-cornered electoral battle between two political blocks – namely BJP-led NDA & Congress-led INDIA alliance. In the last Lok Saha elections, BJP for the first time in the history of Tripura won both seats. This time, however, both sitting BJP MPs Pratima Bhoumik and Rebati Tripura were denied tickets by the top brass.  The BJP has fielded former Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb from Tripura West and Maharani Kriti Singh Debbarma from the Tripura East parliamentary constituency. In the West, Mr Biplab Kumar Deb will lock horns with Congress veteran Ashish Saha.

 

The other feature in this poll is tribal politics is likely to play off in the tribal-dominated areas. At this juncture, BJP has partnered with two tribal outfits IPFT & Tipra Motha. Tipra Motha is being headed by Royal scion Pradyot Bikram Manikya Debbarma. His elder sister Kriti Singh Debbarma has been fielded by the BJP in the East constituency which has surprised many. Tripura East seat has been a traditional stronghold of the Communist party, particularly CPI (M) since the year 1951. This time the CPI (M) has fielded its old guard Rajendra Reang. The coming days will be interesting for the political commentators to cherry-pick on the contestants who hold sway over the voters.

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