Agartala, June 6 (Ajit Weekly News) As many as 24 candidates including Tripura Chief Minister Manik Saha filed their nomination papers for the June 23 bypolls to four Assembly seats in Tripura. Saha, currently a Rajya Sabha member and state BJP President, in his around three-decade-long political career will for the first time contest a direct election in the bypolls from the Town Bordowali assembly constituency.
Saha, who assumed office on May 15, a day after Biplab Kumar Deb’s resignation from the top post, has to become a member of the Assembly within six months. Accompanied by Deb and senior state party leaders he submitted his nomination papers on Monday, the last day of filing of candidature.
The 69-year-old Congress-turned-BJP leader will contest against six other candidates including Ashish Kumar Saha (Congress), Raghunath Sarkar (Forward Bloc) and Sanhita Bhattacharya (Banerjee) of the Trinamool Congress. Of the total of 24 candidates contesting in the four assembly seats, eight women candidates are trying their electoral fortunes.
The BJP and the Trinamool Congress fielded two women candidates each while the CPI-M led Left parties and the Congress nominated one woman candidate each. Multi-cornered contests would be witnessed in all the four assembly seats — Town Bordowali, Agartala, Jubarajnagar and Surma (SC) — between the nominees of the BJP, the CPI-M led Left Front, Congress, Trinamool Congress (TMC) and other smaller parties.
The Congress has forged a tacit alliance with the leading tribal based party — Tipraha Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance headed by Tripura’s former royal scion, Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barman in Surma seat, reserved for the Scheduled Castes.
The bypolls were necessitated after the resignation of three BJP MLAs and the death of CPI-M legislator Ramendra Chandra Debnath.
Amid resentment by a section of BJP legislators against the then CM Deb, three MLAs — Sudip Roy Barman (Agartala), Ashish Kumar Saha (Town Bordowali) and 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 the TMC last year. However, Das also resigned from the TMC last month.
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. According to the Election Commission’s schedule, scrutiny of the nomination papers would be done on Tuesday and the last date of withdrawal of nominations is June 9. The votes will be counted on June 26.
–Ajit Weekly News