Agartala, Jan. 29: Altogether 296 candidates, including 25 Independents, have filed their nomination for the 60 seats of Tripura Assembly.
The ruling Left Front is contesting all the seats with the CPM putting up candidates for 55 seats, leaving two each for the CPI and RSP and one for the Forward Bloc.
Even after the last day of filing nomination, the Opposition Congress’s woes continued. According to the seat-sharing formula finalised by the Congress, the party was to contest 49 seats, leaving 11 for regional ally, INPT. But a revolt by the National Conference of Tripura (NCT), led by former MLA Animesh Debbarma and his threat to put up a candidate against the PCC president Sudip Roy Barman, made the PCC change its mind. Finally the PCC conceded the Ramchandra ghat (ST) seat to Debbarma and kept the Kanchanpur (ST) seat for INPT.
But the INPT candidate for Ramchandra ghat and former Tripura National Volunteers militant leader Ananta Debbarma has refused to withdraw from his seat in favour of Animesh Debbarma. “We are hopeful of being able to resolve the tangle. I will persuade Ananta Debbarma to withdraw his nomination on Thursday,” PCC president Sudip Roy Barman said.
The BJP has put up candidates in 41 seats while the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has put up only two candidates. Trinamul Congress has not entered the fray. The state Trinamul chairman, Arun Chandra Bhowmik, resented the party’s central leadership’s decision not to contest the polls.
Sources in the election department said all the nomination papers were being put to scrutiny today and it will continue till tomorrow. “The last day for withdrawing nomination is Thursday and it is only after the withdrawal that the picture will emerge clearly,” deputy chief electoral officer R.K. Gupta said.
He said eight police observers from the Election Commission — one each for the state’s eight districts — have arrived to monitor police functioning and ensure impartiality.
CPM today demanded the arrest of Sandip Roy Barman, elder brother of PCC president Sudip Roy Barman, action against police and a local cable news channel for creating animosity between two communities.
The party has also filed formal complaints to the Election Commission on the issue, demanding its urgent intervention in the matter.
Briefing reporters in the CPM headquarters at Melarmath, party spokesperson Gautam Das said yesterday afternoon Assam Rifles jawans recovered a 9mm pistol, ammunition, Bangladeshi currency and “tax” notices of NLFT from the office of a brick kiln at Champak Nagar owned by Sandip Roy Barman.
After the recovery, the Assam Rifles jawans picked up Sandip, his manager Pradip Debnath and labourer Ravi Mazumder and handed them over to Jirania police station.
PCC president Sudip Roy Barman called this a conspiracy and mobilised party workers to demand unconditional release of his brother. A large group of Congress workers gathered in front of chief minister’s residence and started shouting slogans.
Around 10 last night the police released Sandip Roy Barman and Ravi Mazumder. Pradip Debnath obtained bail from court today.
Gautam Das said this was an “illegal act by police and violation of the code of conduct” and expressed shock that persons detained in connection with possession of arms were released.