BJP in Tripura: Future tense

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All is not well with the BJP in Tripura. With having to face defeat in the West Bengal polls at the hands of TMC, the saffron camp is preparing hard for the Tripura assembly polls scheduled for 2023. Notably, Tripura also has a large population of Bengali people and did witness left government in the past, similar to West Bengal. Trinamool Congress and the CPI-M both have started their poll preparations for 2023 and making the most of peoples’ resentment with the BJP in power. Just recently, the BJP had to suffer a humiliating defeat at the hands of TIPRA during the district council elections in the state. This many observers, see as the start of the downfall of the BJP in Tripura. TIPRA leader and the titular king of the state, Pradyut Kishore Manikya Debbarma is being seen as a key figure in the upcoming assembly polls. Given all these factors, it seems that the saffron camp is in for a major assault by the opposition in the coming days. On the other hand, Chief Minister Biplab Deb has been known for his non-governance rather than for his efforts at developing the tiny state. The BJP came to power in Tripura by weaning over activists of other parties like the Congress, the CPI-M, and the TMC. Today these defectors stand thoroughly disillusioned with the performance of the party which once claimed to be a “party with a difference.”

CM Biplap Deb and his colleagues in the cabinet have drastically failed in governing the state over the past few years. The people of Tripura, seeking a change desperately, already showed BJP the door in the council elections. Meanwhile, riding piggyback on its recent victory against the Lotus brigade in West Bengal, TMC is making a concerted effort to dislodge the BJP government. Simultaneously, several leaders and grass root level workers are leaving the BJP in droves and joining the TMC. For instance, fearing losing another important leader, the BJP was very quick to naming Rebati Mohan Das as the new vice-president of the state unit as soon as he resigned as the assembly speaker. But it is only a matter of time before he, or any other saffron leader for that matter, will join other parties. What is most surprising is that the Chief Minister is keeping completely mum while the party is being drained of its leaders and workers. TMC is making the most of this vulnerability in Tripura BJP. West Bengal Education Minister Bratya Basu, TMC MP Shantanu Sen, national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee, youth leader, and West Bengal party spokesman Debangshu Bhattacharyya are reported to be flying to and fro between Kolkata and Agartala frequently. They were also seen participating in various mass agitations in Tripura even receiving lathi blows from the police.

As for the chief minister, he has always been at the center of controversies. So much so, that many comedians from the country have jokingly even stated that he is their source of content. Biplap Deb is known for his irrational and otherworldly comments just as much he is known to be autocratic in his approaches. Many opposition leaders and in fact a few of his former party members have openly come out against his dictator-like attitude. Tripura’s population can be roughly divided into two-thirds Bengalis and one-third tribals. In the last elections, the BJP won with the support of a section of tribals. But by now the BJP has largely alienated the tribals. That the saffron party is afraid of losing power, is obvious. On the one hand, it claims that the TMC is no force to challenge the BJP in Tripura while on the other hand, it is adopting strong-arm methods against the TMC. It seems that the BJP is in for a tough fight once again, which may well become even tougher if the TMC and TIPRA manage to forge an alliance.

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