Tripura Assembly Elections and Our Intervention

The situation of Tripura is already surcharged, with election campaigns by all parties in full swing, particularly the ruling CPI(M). The CPI(M)-led Left Front has captured power for six terms and consecutively for the last three terms. The Left Front continues to be strong; in the last election the Front comprising Congress (I) and INPTC (Indigenous National Tribal People’s Council) got 19 seats out of 60 and all others were captured by Left Front. Within the Left Front, RSP got 2 seats and CPI got only one seat, all others were in the hands of the CPI(M), so CPI(M) has absolute control both in the Front and the State Government.

Congress is the main opposition party, but there is no sign of a Congress revival. The Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh results have been a morale booster for the BJP which plans to contest many seats this time. Earlier the Trinamool Congress had some base, but in the last Assembly elections it became very weak. Other streams of Left, such as SUCI, PDF (Dissident group of CPI(M)) are contesting independently; PCC CPI(ML) has launched a new political party. Before the declaration of elections, the CPI(ML) State Committee attempted to initiate an electoral understanding with these groups, but they were not interested. Within the Left Front, at first the Forward Block pressurized the CPI(M) to allot more seats for them, and independently declared 10 seats to contest. Alongside their negotiations with the CPI(M), they also approached us regarding a seat adjustment. CPI(M) has offered them two seats and the discussion is going on; perhaps in the last moment they will come to an understanding. We had called for an alternative Left Front excluding CPI(M), but the LF allies are hesitant.

CPI(M) claims that the present situation is like 1977-78, implying that the Congress will be finished in this election; while Congress has compared the situation to 1988, which implies the Congress will come back to power! It remains to be seen whether either of them will be proved right. But what is undeniable is the degeneration of the Left Front Government. In the name of development, it is borrowing money from World Bank, Japan and Germany, yet all the small industries including tea gardens are closed or sick. The tribal economy has collapsed due to this type of development and tribal are gradually evicted from their land and their rights. Right from the top to the panchayat level, corruption is rampant in the Tripura Government. There is rampant loot in all the welfare schemes of the panchayats, and without being a CPI(M) member or supporter, no one gets benefits. Even the Antodayya, Annapurna and BPL rice were looted. So the CPI(M) is gradually alienated from the rural poor and tribal people. A good section of rural people are joining with us, particularly in North Tripura and Bilonia and Amarpur areas.

In the name of curbing terrorism, the whole state has been handed over to military and para-military forces. In 40 Police Station areas the Armed Forces (Special Power) Act is enforced. Earlier it was only in 27 PS areas. Hence, no non-tribal people can go easily and freely to the tribal areas, and killing of innocent people, rape by police, military and para-military forces is increasing day by day.

In this situation CPI(ML) is preparing to contest the election, aiming to develop a struggling rallying centre of the poor people. Our campaign is focussed against corruption, for pro-poor development, for the democratic rights and the fight for democracy, calling upon all to strengthen the real Left forces in the state. In the last Assembly election CPI(ML) contested 9 seats, now it will contest 15 seats, i.e. one-fourth of the total seats.

In the last five years, CPI(ML) has been expanding slowly but steadily in Tripura. Our work is developing almost all the sections of the people, including tribals and minorities. Our work is developing in tea garden areas and other working people are also organized in TU works. A good section of CPI(M) supporters and workers of grass root level are joining CPI(ML).

Liberation Archive