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BJP seeks pre-poll alliance

Agartala, Dec. 25: The BJP, aware that it may need allies in the post-Lok Sabha poll scenario for government formation, is on the look-out for regional parties for a pre-poll alliance.

Discussions have reached an advanced stage with regional parties in Tripura, Sanjay Paswan, the president of the Scheduled Caste Morcha and former Union minister for human resource development, told reporters here recently. He said the BJP “does not believe in post-poll alliance and is trying to form a pre-poll alliance in the interest of better cohesion and understanding.”

The BJP has never been a serious contender in Tripura elections, but Paswan, who arrived here on Monday on a pre-poll stocktaking mission and left yesterday, said the party would put up a strong fight in the Lok Sabha polls in alliance with a regional party in Tripura. “What we want is a Congress-free India and Communist-free Tripura. We are looking for an alliance with regional or state-based parties that are equidistant from both Congress and the Communists.”

He said the past decade of UPA rule had led to “great enfeeblement of the country, its ethos, borders and territory” and it needed to be unseated from power. “Our borders are now more unsafe than ever with even small neighbours striking us with impunity. The failure of the two UPA regimes in the matter of foreign policy is the worst. India needs a strong Prime Minister and the BJP alone can give the country a really capable and powerful Prime Minister,” he said.

Paswan also lashed out at the alleged failure of the CPM-led Left Front in improving the socio-economic condition of the people belonging to the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities. “The CPM here has been using them merely as a vote-bank. We are determined to work for the welfare of the SC and ST communities on the basis of specific schemes and programmes,” he said.

Replying to a query on the BJP’s potential regional allies in the Northeast, Paswan said the party was in touch with a number of parties but refused to elaborate on the issue. On the BJP’s lack of strength and a support base in Tripura, he said the party was trying to expand its base and would soon emerge as a powerful force.

Sources in the state BJP hinted that the party would ally with the newly formed Tripura Gramin Vikash Congress, led by former Congress MLA Subal Bhowmik, and was trying to rope in a regional party with base among indigenous people.