Former Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said that the CPI(M)-led Left Front could not counter the BJP’s populist campaign in the run-up to the 2018 assembly elections. The BJP, which had less than 2 per cent vote share in the state, toppled the Left Front’s government of 25 years in 2018, winning 36 seats in the 60-member assembly.
In its vision document unveiled ahead of the election, the BJP had promised 7th Pay Commission-recommended wages for teachers and government employees, employment for youths and more opportunities under MGNREGA for the poor, Sarkar said at a programme of his party CPI(M) on Friday. ”Each family has an average of five-six members and the earner is the natural leader of the family, and he influences the entire family,” he said.
In Tripura, there are 2 lakh government employees and pensioners, he added. Sarkar, the leader of the opposition, claimed the people were misguided by the way the BJP had projected their vision document, targetting all sections of the society.
”All the anti-Left political forces went under the BJP’s umbrella to ensure the defeat of the Communists in Tripura. We could not make the people understand the false promises of the BJP,” he conceded. It will be wrong if one thinks that the BJP won the election because of RSS and its organisational might, he said.
Sarkar claimed central intelligence agencies and the BJP’s own internal assessment have indicated that ”all is not well” in the party’s government in the Northeastern state. ”They understand that the BJP will suffer in the 2023 assembly election if it fights the polls with the present faces. That’s why the chief minister (Biplab Deb), who had once claimed that he would remain in the post till 2047, was removed abruptly,” he said.
Sarkar said alleged that the BJP has betrayed the people, failing to keep the promises that were promised. Rejecting the charge, state BJP vice-president Rebati Tripura said the party not only fulfilled the promises made in the vision document but also undertook other developmental works.
On the change in guard in the state, she said, ”He (Biplab Deb) has been made the party’s in-charge of Haryana and Rajya Sabha nominee. The party might have other plans for the former chief minister.”