Agartala: The ruling BJP on Saturday declared 48 nominees, including 11 women, for upcoming election to the 60-member Tripura assembly slated to be held on February 16 next.
The candidates for remaining 12 seats include two high-profile constituencies – Agartala and Suryamaninagar and 10 tribal reserved seats.
Except for one, all the ministers were re-nominated while six sitting MLAs were dropped from the contest this time but the party didn’t cite any reason for the change of their choice. Significantly, the party holds the nomination of Fire and Emergency Service Minister Ramprasad Paul from Suryamaninagar constituency.
The candidates for the prestigious Agartala constituency, which was won by former BJP minister turned Congress Sudip Roybarman in the by-election six months ago were also not declared. The CPI-M MLA Moboshar Ali who joined BJP 24 hours back has been fielded in Kailashahar constituency in Unakoti district.
However, BJP sources said that former Chief Minister and present MP of Rajya Sabha Biplab Kumar Deb and former BJP Vice President turned TMC President of the State Subal Bhowmik -joined again saffron brigade on Friday were not allocated any seat in the first phase.
Reportedly, Bhowmik was assured to give Banamalipur constituency of the city where Biplab Deb was elected last time. But BJP state president Rajib Bhattacharjee has been allocated the seat. Possibly, either Biplab Deb or Subal Bhowmik, or Ramprasad Paul would be fielded against Roybarman in the second list.
The party sources said BJP has kept 10 seats open for TIPRA Motha out of 20 reserved seats hoping that there will be a final agreement with Motha supremo and royal scion Pradyot Kishore Debbarman although TIPRA announced to fight alone in the assembly constituency after being rejected their ‘Greater Tipraland’ demand by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday.
The BJP’s partner in the government IPFT has not yet decided on their stand and still persuading Pradyot Kishore to go for an alliance to keep its identity intake. Earlier, Motha had proposed IPFT merge together and fight the election for the interest of the tribals and initially, IPFT responded too. But finally, they couldn’t reach any agreement.
“If any tribal party wants to fight with BJP against Congress and CPI-M, 10 ST reserve seats will the allocated to them. Otherwise, BJP will announce its candidates in all 12 seats very soon. We will wait for a few hours to get a response,” said a senior state functionary of BJP here, adding that after a detailed discussion candidates have been finalised in the party’s central election committee meeting on Friday in presence of Prime Minister and top state and central leaders.