AGARTALA: Amid the hectic campaign before the June 23 bye-polls to four Assembly seats, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Saha said on Monday that he has not been made the Chief Minister by the central leaders for three months, or seven months, and he will be in the leading position in the Assembly elections in early next year.
The statement of Saha, who assumed office on May 15, a day after Biplab Kumar Deb’s resignation from the top post, is very significant as the elections to the Tripura Assembly are expected to be held in around eight months from now (February 2023).
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President JP Nadda have extended their trust in me. This is not the right platform to disclose everything,” Saha said in a party meeting as part of his byelection campaign.
The 69-year-old Congress-turned-BJP leader, who is contesting from the Town Bordowali Assembly constituency against five other candidates, is also the state party President and a Rajya Sabha member. Saha, who is contesting the elections for the first time, has to become a member of the Assembly within six months.
Former Chief Minister Deb also held a meeting with Nadda in New Delhi on Saturday and held another meeting with Kailash Vijayvargiya, national general secretary of the BJP, and the party’s Tripura in-charge Vinod Sonkar in Agartala on Monday. “In all these meetings, we have discussed the strategies about the byelections,” Deb tweeted.
The Left parties, the Congress, and the Trinamool Congress also undertook campaigns in all the four assembly seats – Town Bordowali, Agartala, Jubarajnagar and Surma (SC). Trinamool Congress national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee would visit Tripura on Tuesday to spearhead the campaign as his party has put up candidates in all the four seats.
Trinamool spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said that Banerjee would be participating in a road-show and would address an election meeting as well. Trinamool has submitted a series of complaints to the Election Commission about the political violence ahead of the bye-polls.
“The BJP removing a chief minister ahead of elections shows that the issues raised by us in the past few months are valid. The people of Tripura now need a change of government and not just CMs. Those who think it is okay to increase the prices of essential commodities and fuel can vote for BJP. But those who want to remove BJP for its misgovernance should vote for Trinamool,” Ghosh told the media.
The bye-polls 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 then CM Deb, three MLAs – Sudip Roy Barman, Ashis Kumar Saha and Ashis Das – 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 Trinamool last year. Das also resigned from the Trinamool last month. Roy Barman and Saha this time are contesting from Agartala and Town Bordowali Assembly constituencies, respectively, on Congress tickets. IANS