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CPM names nominees

Agartala, March 5: The ruling CPM in Tripura has announced its candidates for the Lok Sabha elections to be held on April 7 and 12 in two phases for the first time in the state.

The minister for forest, industries and rural development Jiten Chowdhury will contest the East Tripura seat reserved for Scheduled Tribes while Citu leader and former CPM legislator from Barjala Assembly constituency, Shankar Prasad Dutta, will contest the West Tripura.

Dutta, a lightweight in CPM politics here, had lost the Assembly polls last year from Krishnanagar Assembly constituency against leader of the Opposition in the Tripura Assembly, Sudip Roy Barman.

The omission of veteran leader of the party, Bajuban Reang, 73, from East Tripura and Khagen Das, 76, from West Tripura, marks a new shift in the CPM’s internal equations.

Bajuban, originally a Congress member and champion javelin thrower, had joined the CPM in 1967 and was elected seven times between 1980 and 2009. He had lost only the 1989 polls while the 1991 polls were boycotted by the CPM to protest electoral malpractices by the ruling Congress-TUJS coalition government.

Khagen Das had been elected to Assembly twice in 1978 and 1983 from Mazlishpur Assembly constituency and had been the health minister in 1983-1988. However, he had lost the 1988 Assembly polls from Ramnagar Assembly constituency in Agartala town.

A member of the central committee, Khagen Das had been elected to Rajya Sabha in 1998 but had resigned the seat in 2002 to contest the Lok Sabha byelection in February 2002 as a result of MP and former home minister Samar Chowdhury’s death.