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Tripura CM to contest polls 1st time; multi-cornered contest in 4 seats

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Agartala, June 4 (Ajit Weekly News) In his around three-decade-long political career, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Saha for the first time would contest a direct election in the June 23 by-polls as he is not a member of the state assembly.

Political pundits say that the by-elections in four assembly seats will be a multi-cornered contest between the ruling BJP, and the CPI-M-led Left Front, the Congress, and the Trinamool Congress and these by-polls are considered as a semi-final before the next year’s general elections to 60-seat Tripura assembly.

BJP spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharjee told Ajit Weekly News that Saha, who assumed office on May 15, a day after Biplab Kumar Deb’s resignation from the top post, would contest from the Town Bordowali constituency, which along with three other assembly constituencies — Agartala, Surma (SC) and Jubarajnagar — would go to by polls on June 23.

The 69-year-old Congress-turned-BJP leader would contest against Congress’ candidate Ashish Kumar Saha and Raghunath Sarkar of Forward Bloc.

Manik Saha, currently a Rajya Sabha member and state BJP President, and Ashish Kumar Saha, have had close relations for several decades but both changed their political platforms on a number of occasions.

Though the BJP’s central leaders would announce their candidates on Saturday, Saha’s candidature is confirmed for obvious reasons, Bhattacharjee said.

The opposition Congress would also announce the names of the candidates on Saturday or Sunday, though, party sources confirmed that Ashish Kumar Saha would contest from Town Bordowali seat and Sudip Roy Barman would contest from his old seat Agartala constituency.

The Trinamool Congress on Friday announced their candidates — Panna Deb (Agartala), Neel Kamal Saha (Town Bordowali), Arjun Sarkar (Surma) and Dr Mrinal Kanti Dev (Jubarajnagar).

Both ruling and opposition parties started their campaign immediately after the Election Commission announced the schedule of the politically important by-elections on May 25.

According to the EC’s schedule, the last date of filing of nomination is June 6, the scrutiny will be done on the next day and the last date of withdrawal of nomination is June 9.

The votes will be counted on June 26.

The CPI-M-led Left Front announced their candidates on May 30 and their all four candidates have already submitted their nomination.

Few other smaller parties are also likely to contest the elections.

The by-polls were necessitated after the resignation of three BJP MLAs, and the death of CPI-M legislator Ramendra Chandra Debnath.

Amid open resentment by a section of BJP legislators against then CM Deb, three MLAs, Roy Barman (Agartala), Ashish Kumar Saha (Town Bordowali), Ashis Das (Surma), quit the BJP and the Assembly.

Roy Barman, also a former BJP minister, and Saha joined the Congress in February this year while Das joined Trinamool Congress last year.

Elected from the Jubarajnagar constituency six times, Debnath was Assembly speaker multiple times.

He passed away on February 2 in Kolkata due to kidney failure.

–Ajit Weekly News

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