Agartala: Veteran politician and Congress leader Sudip Roybarman’s victory from the prestigious Agartala constituency, coupled with the dismal performances of Left Front spearhead CPI-M and the Trinamool Congress in the Tripura Assembly by-polls could be indicative of a realignment of opposition forces in this northeastern state, political circles feel.
Roybarman’s triumph over his nearest rival state BJP Vice President and leading intellectual Dr. Ashok Sinha has come as a boost to the Congress ahead of the next assembly elections scheduled for early next year. Roybarman’s win, which helped the Congress wrest the seat from the BJP, has come at a time the grand old party seems to be struggling with a dwindling support base in major parts of the country.
Roybarman, who had won the seat in the 2018 Assembly polls as a BJP candidate and was made a member of the cabinet, resigned as an MLA and crossed over to the Congress in February, complaining against then Chief Minister Biplab Deb’s style of functioning.
With its win in Agartala, the Congress has reopened its account in the state Assembly, after failing to bag any seat in the 2018 Assembly polls. In fact, the party had been without any representation in the House ever since late 2015 when all six of its lawmakers joined the Trinamool Congress.
The CPI-M-led Left Front which had ruled the state uninterruptedly for 25 years till it was decimated by the BJP in the 2018 elections, has also performed poorly. Till now the principal opposition, the LF has been pushed to third position in both Agartala and Bardowali constituencies and finished second in Surma.
The LF’s biggest setback has come in the form of the loss of Jubarajnagar, which the BJP has wrested from the Marxists. The CPI-M had managed to win the seat in 2018 despite the anti-incumbency wave against the erstwhile Manik Sarkar government. The constituency went to the hustings this time as the CPI-M MLA Ramendra Chandra Debnath died earlier this year.
At the same time, the Trinamool Congress, which had carried out a colourful and high-profile campaign by roping in top leaders and showbiz personalities, has come up with an abysmal show. Its candidates have forfeited their deposits in all four constituencies.
The Tipra Motha, a tribal-based party, also could not cut much ice in Surma, despite getting the support of the Congress.
Ever since Roybarman joined the Congress, the party has been trying to position itself as the pivot in the anti-BJP space in the tiny state, that it earlier ruled for close to two decades and gave it four chief ministers.
Analysts feel the Agartala show will only embolden the party to intensify the process.