'Despite BJP butchering democracy, TMC emerges as main Oppn in Tripura'
Agartala/Kolkata: As the civic poll results were out on Sunday, Trinamool Congress (TMC) "a party beginning with negligible presence" in the political landscape of Tripura emerged — leaving the CPI(M) behind — as the main Opposition party of the BJP in the north-eastern state with over 20 per cent vote share in the Agartala Municipal Corporation, Ambassa Municipality and Teliamura Municipal Council.
AITC, which had a negligible 0.3 per cent vote share in the 2018 Tripura Assembly elections, began its campaign barely three months back and has now become the second largest political party in the state.
Terming the result "exceptional", the TMC stated that it is the "foundation of Trinamool's victory in 2023" Assembly polls in Tripura.
Trinamool Congress won in one seat in the civic elections despite the reign of terror which had been unleashed by the BJP on the day of elections. Apart from winning ward no. 13 in the Ambassa Municipality, AITC ended up being in the second position in 26 of the 51 wards in Agartala Municipal Corporation, relegating the Left parties to a dismal third.
Trinamool also came close to winning in ward no. 13 of Sonamura Municipality, losing out by only 10 votes to the BJP candidate. Similarly, in Teliamura municipality's ward no. 10, the AITC candidate lost out by only 8 votes.
Taking to Twitter, Abhishek Banerjee, the Trinamool Congress national general-secretary, congratulated the people of Tripura for braving all odds and coming out of their homes to cast their votes as they had been intimidated and threatened with dire consequences by BJP-backed goons. He also thanked the party workers and leaders for their indomitable courage and relentless work to strengthen the organisation.
Abhishek tweeted: "It is exceptional for a party beginning with negligible presence to successfully contest municipal elections and emerge as the PRINCIPAL OPPOSITION in the state with more than 20% vote share."
Congratulating all concerned, the Trinamool Congress national general-secretary further stated: "This is despite the fact that we commenced our activities barely 3 months ago and @BJP4Tripura left no stone unturned to BUTCHER DEMOCRACY in Tripura. Congratulations to all the brave soldiers of @AITC4Tripura for their exemplary courage. It is just the beginning now the real game will start."
Sunil Pal is the only TMC candidate who won from Ambassa. Addressing a press conference in Tripura, Rajib Banerjee, Trinamool Congress spokesperson, said the party workers and leaders had taken a pledge to carry on with the fight till the BJP-led government is ousted in 2023.
"It is historic for any political party to secure the second position within three months of its setting up the organisation in Tripura. TMC has got more than 20% votes in the municipal election, braving all odds. We should remember that BJP had got 14% vote in 2016 in Agartala Municipal Corporation and came to power in Tripura in 2018. Rest assured TMC will oust BJP in the Assembly election in 2023," he said.
Kunal Ghosh, the state general secretary of TMC said in Kolkata: "People have seen how our candidates had been beaten up, flags and festoons burnt and party offices ransacked. Braving all odds people did come out of their houses to cast their votes in our favour. Our fight will continue and rest assured we will be able to oust BJP in 2023 Assembly election."
Ghosh tweeted: "2023 is ours, it (the results) forms the foundation of Trinamool's victory in 2023." He claimed that the TMC has been able to gain support of a considerable section of people.
AITC workers had faced over 30 attacks by right-wing miscreants in the run-up to the civic polls. A majority of them were violent in nature, like the one on AITC candidate from ward no. 51, Tapan Biswas, who had to be rushed to a hospital in Kolkata after BJP workers brutally thrashed him causing serious injuries to his eyes. Even the Supreme Court acknowledged the deteriorating law and order situation in the state and had directed to deploy additional companies of Central forces to uphold free and fair polling, stated TMC in a statement.
On Sunday afternoon, AITC candidate from ward no. 14, Abhiroy Das, and counting committee member, Ranthindra, were attacked by BJP goons. Abhiroy suffered serious head injuries and had to be hospitalised. Rathindra said that they were returning from the counting centre when BJP goons gheraoed them near Ompi Chowhumani and attacked him with lathis and rods. In Teliamura's ward no. 15, AITC candidate Ashok Das Gupta was attacked, while ward no. 8 candidate Manorama Das was thrashed by BJP workers post the counting of votes. These events and reports of draconian criminal laws being used to prevent media from reporting on acts of violence in Tripura have forced the Editors Guild of India to send a three-member fact-finding team to Agartala.
Alleging that the BJP was forming municipal boards by securing wins through violence and intimidation, the TMC leader further accused the police and the State Election Commission in Tripura of favouring the saffron party.