BJP and Congress announce candidates for Tripura bye-polls

AGARTALA: The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday announced candidates for the June 23 bye-polls to four Tripura Assembly seats nominating Chief Minister Manik Saha from the Town Bordowali constituency.

BJP Spokesman Nabendu Bhattacharjee said here that the party’s Parliamentary Board announced the names of the four candidates in Delhi also fielding state BJP Vice-President Ashok Sinha in the prestigious Agartala seat.

It also nominated two women candidates – Swapna Das Paul and Malina Debnath – for the Surma (SC) and Jubarajnagar Assembly constituencies respectively.

Opposition Congress also on Saturday announced two candidates – Sudip Roy Barman in Agartala seat and Ashish Kumar Saha in Town Bordowali constituency respectively. According to party sources, the Congress likely announce its candidate for the Jubarajnagar seat on Sunday and forge an alliance with Tipraha Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance headed by Tripura’s royal scion, Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barman in the Surma seat, reserved for the Scheduled Caste.

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

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 the Town Bordowali seat and Sudip Roy Barman would contest from his old seat Agartala constituency.

Both ruling and opposition parties started their hectic 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 for 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 bye-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), 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 Trinamool Congress last year.

Elected from the Jubarajnagar constituency six times, Debnath was an Assembly speaker multiple times. He passed away on February 2 in Kolkata due to kidney failure. (IANS)

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