AGARTALA: For the first time in over five years, the ruling BJP is set to lock horns directly with the opposition CPI-M-led Left Front in the upcoming September 5 by-polls for two Tripura Assembly seats.
The Boxanagar and Dhanpur constituencies have become the epicenters of this political tussle where the Left-Front is represented by Mizan Hossain in Boxanagar and Kaushik Chanda is standing from Dhanpur.
The BJP, on the other hand, has nominated Taffajal Hossain from Boxanagar and Bindu Debnath is in fray from Dhanpur. Notably, this marks the electoral debut for Mizan and Debnath, while Chanda and Taffajal have re-entered the fray after their participation in the February 16 assembly polls.
Interestingly, the Congress and Tipra Motha Party (TMP), two other significant opposition players, have strategically abstained from fielding their own candidates and have thrown their weight behind the Left nominees in a bid to consolidate the opposition vote share and pose a formidable challenge to the BJP.
This unique alignment of political forces follows a high-profile meeting among the CPI-M, Congress, and TMP, held on August 12. Animesh Debbarma, a senior TMP leader and the leader of the opposition, emphasised the collective opposition’s intent. “In the upcoming by-elections, our objective is clear: prevent fragmenting the opposition votes and ensure a setback for the BJP,” he told the local press.
He further highlighted that during the February 16 Assembly elections, despite the BJP’s 40% vote share, it managed to retain power. Meanwhile, combined, the opposition garnered a significant 60% of votes.
The sudden by-election for the Dhanpur seat arose after its incumbent, Union minister Pratima Bhoumik, elected as a BJP candidate, stepped down. Meanwhile, the Boxanagar seat, predominantly Muslim, saw an unfortunate vacancy following the passing of CPI-M MLA Samsul Haque due to a cardiac event on July 19.