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Focus on factionalism at meet

- Gogoi-headed panel to decide on Tripura Cong poll tickets

Agartala, Dec. 10: The factional feud in the state Congress will be in focus at the meeting of the screening committee headed by Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi in Guwahati from tomorrow.

The numerous aspirants looking for nomination in the upcoming Assembly election, tentatively scheduled for February next year, have started lobbying the ruling faction of the Tripura PCC and even senior party leaders in Assam.

Former Assam MP Kirip Chaliha is currently on a tour of the state to hold discussions with all the factional leaders to assess the nomination profile for providing feedback to Gogoi before the meeting.

The pradesh election committee in a meeting on November 23-24 had shortlisted 209 names for nomination to the 60 Assembly seats and decided that all present MLAs will be re-nominated from their constituencies. But lobbying gained a new momentum with multiple aspirants emerging for 50 seats.

“Chaliha is holding discussions with factional bosses in the state to provide feedback to Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi who is the screening committee chairman. The shortlist finalised by the election committee will be pruned and the final announcement regarding nominations will be made by the party high command,” said former MLA Tapas De.

He claimed the state Congress had fragmented into three major factions led by PCC president Sudip Roy Barman and leader of the Opposition Ratanlal Nath and former PCC presidents Birajit Sinha and Surajit Dutta.

“Factionalism in the Tripura Congress is nothing new but this time divisions are sharper and the party high command will have to crack down on factional satraps to nominate candidates with the maximum winning potential,” De said.

The factionalism came to the fore in July when Sudip Roy Barman replaced Surajit Dutta as PCC president, with AICC general secretary Luizinho Faleiro actively backing the change of guard. In order to strengthen his hold over the party organisation, Barman soon set about relegating office-bearers of various committees appointed by Dutta to the background and appointing a number of handpicked “advisers”.

Party leaders fear that the intense factional feuds may tell upon the Congress’s performance in the elections. Nath said if the “initial revolt” over nominations were tackled correctly, the Congress would perform well in the Assembly polls.

“In the last Assembly elections, the Left Front had secured 51.34 per cent votes and won 49 of the 60 seats. This time too, the Front has left nothing to chance in terms of giving sops and doles to voters. Naturally, we have reasons to be worried over our performance in view of factionalism and the Front’s formidable organisation,” said De.


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