| CPM workers and supporters attend an election meeting in Tripura on Monday. Picture by UB Photos |
Agartala, Feb. 4: Delimitation of constituencies — based on the recommendations of the commission headed by Supreme Court Justice (retired) Kuldip Singh — has created critical problems for candidates contesting the upcoming Assembly elections in Tripura.
The commission had visited Tripura in 2006 and consulted political leaders and public representatives. But the final result, notified by the Centre in February 2008, left many politicians and aspirants stunned.
According to some of the commission’s recommendations, the number of seats reserved for Scheduled Castes rose from 7 to 10 although the number of seats reserved for Scheduled Tribes remained the same, 20, and so did the total number of seats, 60.
“There is no problem with the increase in the number of seats for Scheduled Caste or with the number of seats reserved for Scheduled Tribes remaining. What has put us in trouble is the new shape and alignment of the constituencies. In my constituency, Agartala (No-6), two panchayats having more than 3,000 voters have been added from neighbouring Khayerpur constituency. Both the panchayats are packed with CPM voters,” said PCC president Sudip Roy Barman.
Another leading Congress figure, Surajit Dutta, who has won five consecutive elections from 1988, is this in a tricky situation in his Ramnagar constituency.
“Two full wards of Agartala Municipal Council (AMC), impregnable bases of the Congress, have been ceded to the neighbouring Town Bardowali constituency, while two other wards and three panchayats packed with CPM voters have been added to my constituency,” said Dutta, who has been working extra-hard to retain his seat.
He is convinced that the delimitation commission worked with inputs provided by “pro-CPM” employees and the “mischief was done deliberately to weaken me in my constituency”.
Though CPM leaders refused to comment on the delimitation commission’s recommendations, sources in the party admitted that in a number of constituencies the party would face problems.
“In Takarjala (ST) seat, two village committees with altogether 3,000 voters each, majority of whom owe allegiance to INPT have been added. That is making us work harder,” said Ramendra Debbaram, member of ADC and senior CPM leader from the indigenous community.