In Kumarghat town, a key nerve centre in north Tripura, many BJP supporters were heard talking enthusiastically about their neo-confidence in this year’s elections. “Gram pahare mukher bol, phutbey ebar padda ful (From hills and valleys, there is only one slogan it is time for Lotus to bloom),” said one shopkeeper – cautious that his name should not be quoted as time for ‘campaign’ has already ended.“There have been lawlessness and therefore people are talking about change. The CPI(M) regime saw various corruption cases like Bishalgarh Block scandal wherein a block official was also involved,” said another voter in the area.
Similar whispering and informal chats were heard even in Kamalpur town and Marachara area of Surma reserved SC constituencies. The CPI(M)’s sitting legislator Bijay Laxmi Sinha is facing a stiff fight from BJP’s Manoj Kanti Deb, a former Congressman, in Kamalpur.In Surma constituency, Ashish Das of BJP is pitted against sitting CPI-M legislator Anjan Das.The Left supporters dismiss speculation about a possible BJP-IPFT government and say the CPI-M hold has been so strong in at least 40 constituencies in 2013 polls that despite ‘erosion’ of support base – the communist candidates will sail through comfortably.
“Our party’s return to power is a foregone conclusion. Manik Sarkar is immensely popular and this nervousness was reflected in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal attack,” says Diptesh Jaimatia, a voter in Surma assembly constituency. However, a woman CPI-M worker in Tribal para under Kamalpur segment Archana Pal cautions against ‘complacency’. “From beginning of campaigning in this year’s fiercely contested polls, our party leadership has cautioned cadres about the need for eternal vigil,” she says.
Quoting party leader Amal Chakraborty, she says, “In Left scheme of electoral strategy complacency is considered the biggest weakness in fighting the rivals”.However, she admits in some pockets in Kamalpur and Surma assembly segments, the CPI-M has suffered ‘desertion’ among party workers.“In some segments, these are matter of concern,” says another pro-Left voter Nayan Chanda. But he also hastens to add that the BJP poll managers may get a shock on the outcome day as the voters in the state are “both revolutionary and committed”. “Most voters will not be influenced by anti-people reactionary vested interests,” he says.
But a BJP supporter sought to counter the Leftists’ claim and say in many smaller hamlets in particular people have decided to ‘discharge’ their historic duty and vote out the communists. “In my constituency not only the local CPI-M leaders even their relatives have been found indulging in corruption. Such a system should end this time,” says Dinesh Das of Durgachowmuni locality in remote Dhalai district.(UNI)