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Conflict in Tripura BJP widens after CPI-M announces RS candidate

It may be mentioned that a large number of state BJP leaders have been opposing Saha's continuation as party president for quite some time.

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Agartala: With the opposition CPI-M announcing a candidate to take on BJP’s state president Manik Saha in the March 31 Rajya Sabha poll, a direct fight seems to be in the offing for the sole seat to the upper House of Parliament from Tripura.

The state BJP, riven by factional feud for the last three years over the leadership and the functioning of Tripura’s Biplab Kumar Deb government. recently faced more problems when a group of party leaders met Saha and wrote to him seeking his resignation.

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It may be mentioned that a large number of state BJP leaders have been opposing Saha’s continuation as party president for quite some time. In 2016, the BJP central leadership had made Biplab Kumar Deb president of the party’s state unit, amidst claims that he had lost the election.

After becoming the president, Deb brought Saha into the party as a primary member. Finally, in January 2020, he succeeded Deb as the state party chief. The BJP oldtimers like Ram Prasad Paul, Pradyot Dhar and Tapas Bhattacharjee have purportedly been sidelined in the party by the group led by the Chief Minister.

All turncoat CPI-M and Congress leaders have been inducted into the party’s core committee, with the dissidents alleging that the government has become disconnected from the traditional party line. With time, the situation has only aggravated, causing inner conflicts and desertions.

The Left Front spearhead CPI-M’s decision to nominate its veteran leader and former state finance minister Bhanu Lal Saha – also a present legislator – for the Rajya Sabha poll is indicative of the LF’s strategy to ensure cross-voting from the ranks of the BJP’s dissident MLAs.

According to some reports, a large section of BJP leaders had been pressing for the nomination of any oldtime BJP worker or a prominent tribal lady, but Saha’s selection has only further widened the differences in the party and with its alliance partner IPFT.

A few BJP MLAs along with the IPFT are not happy with Saha’s selection, which was influenced by a “vested quarter”, alleged a senior BJP state functionary. on condition of anonymity.

According to him, winning the election is not an issue for the saffron party now, but if Saha cannot secure the vote of all 33 BJP and eight IPFT MLAs, it would send a bad message to the lower functionaries, which may cost the party dear in next year’s assembly poll. 

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