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Not big rallies, doorstep visits heat up Tripura bypolls campaign

To draw the voters, particularly the youth, the principal combatants are using portable sound systems blaring out popular local folk songs from colourfully done up vehicles.

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By Biswendu Bhattacharjee 

Agartala: Using portable sound systems and locally composed folk songs, the major political parties have charted out a new campaign module for the ensuing by-elections to four assembly constituencies of Tripura.

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Bypassing the traditional voter-outreach styles like public rallies in the constituencies, the senior party leaders accompanied by the candidates are approaching the voters at their doorstep ahead of the June 23 polls. Except for Congress nominee from Agartala constituency former BJP minister Sudip Roybarman, all the aspirants have been moving door to door with the target of covering each of the localities.

To draw the voters, particularly the youth, the principal combatants are using portable sound systems blaring out popular local folk songs from colourfully done up vehicles.

Roybarman’s constituency appears to be the centre of attraction for both the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress. It has the highest number of eligible voters among the poll-bound constituencies but witnessed a low-key campaign by the Congres. 

Roybarman has been winning the seat with impressive margins for 25 years.

The Deputy Chief minister Jishnu Dev Varma, Tripura BJP’s youth icon Information Minister of the state Sushanta Chowdhury – the main commander of Sudip Roybarman over a decade until the latter’s induction into the cabinet in September last year – former Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb and a couple of MLAs were campaigning in Agartala constituency over the last 10 days almost 12 hours a day despite severe natural calamities.

“We have reached out to almost 80 percent of the population in Agartala constituency. Moreover, our party has deployed one Bistarak (commander) in each of the 55 booths and we are seeking votes for the work BJP-IPFT government has done in 51 months. The BJP wants votes to give a push to the ongoing development activities in the state and the response is very positive,” Chowdhury claimed.  

On the other, Roybarman said, “I have full faith and confidence in the voters that they will extend their blessings to me. I don’t believe in big-ticket campaigns by erecting huge flags and festoons or opening booth offices in every locality. I shall come out with flying colours on June 26, if the voting process and counting are fair and transparent.”

The Chief Minister Manik Saha, who is himself is in fray from Bardowali constituency in Agartala city, is also going door to door with folded hands.

Accompanying the Chief Minister are Education Minister Ratan Lal Nath, veteran leader and former minister Jawhar Saha, and other senior BJP leaders. 

Dr Saha is known as a gentleman and renowned Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon residing in the heart of the city.  

“I never contested any direct election before and became the Chief Minister without being an MLA. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief J P Nadda put me in the chair but your vote will make me a CM who has won the election with popular support,” he said.

The Congress nominee from Bardowali is veteran politician and former BJP MLA Ashis Saha, who is seeking votes against the CM by highlighting the government, miseries of Agartala city and alleged corruption and misrule of BJP in last four years.

Ashis Saha said, “BJP has done nothing except making tall promises, indulging in vendetta politics and looting the state exchequer through outside contractors and businessmen. The BJP government as of now has done nothing for Agartala except siphoning out the city’s development funds and snatching away the right to freedom of expression. I am confident people will vote for me, which will be the beginning of the end for BJP.”

The main opposition CPI-M and the new force in the state Trinamool Congress have also adopted the same campaign strategy to reach out to the individual voters especially among the minorities, tribal and scheduled caste communities highlighting thee alleged failures and misrule of the BJP-led government in Tripura. 

The by-polls are also being held in Surma and Jubarnagar constituencies.

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