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Left juggernaut rolls in rural polls

- Front wins 19 seats uncontested even before the July 15 election

Agartala, June 24: The Opposition Congress in Tripura is fast sinking into a political coma with the party being virtually non-existent in the statewide three-tier panchayat polls scheduled to be held on July 15.

The counting of ballots will be taken up on July 18. As the last day for filing nominations for the 591 gram panchayats, 35 panchayat samitis and eight zilla parishads was over yesterday, it was clear that the ruling Left Front was poised to win 52 gram panchayats without any contest. These gram panchayats have altogether 638 seats.

Besides, out of 419 seats in 35 panchayat samitis, the Left Front is all set to capture 19 seats without any contest, as the Opposition failed to put up any candidate.

In the upcoming three-tier panchayat polls, 591 gram panchayats have altogether 6,111 seats, 35 panchayat samitis have 419 seats while eight zilla parishads have 116 seats notified by the state election department. Since the last day of withdrawing nomination is on Thursday, the sources in the state Election Commission said many more Left Front candidates in the three-tier bodies were likely to win seats without contest.

CPM office secretary Haripada Das said in many blocks the Opposition Congress, Trinamul, BJP and INPT had failed to put up any candidate. “In Jirania block, 25km east of Agartala, the Opposition could not put up any candidate in seven of the 13 gram panchayats. The isolation of the Congress from the people of the state was becoming clear after the Assembly elections were held last year and the situation only worsened after the Lok Sabha polls. In the 139 seats in 13 gram panchayats of Jirania block, the Congress could put up just one candidate and this reflects the pathetic state of the party.”

Apart from this, in the nearby Puratan Agartala block, there are 148 seats in the 14 gram panchayats but the Congress has fielded candidates for only 15 seats, BJP for seven seats and Trinamul Congress for 17. Similar reports have been pouring in from other parts of the state.

“In Teliamura block under Khowai district, the Left Front has captured five gram panchayats without contest; in the 185 seats of the 17 gram panchayats under Teliamura block, the Congress could not put up a single candidate though the BJP and Trinamul have put up candidates in about 53 and 80 seats respectively without a chance of victory,” said Das.

In Sabroom subdivision of South Tripura, Amarpur subdivision of Gomati district, Dharmanagar and Kanchnapur subdivisions of North Tripura district and Gandacherra and Longtari valley subdivisions of Dhalai district, Congress had “simply disappeared” though in some places BJP and Trinamul were trying to put up semblance of a contest.

“Our victories without contest will be much larger after the last day of withdrawing nominations on June 26. In South Tripura and Sonamura districts, the BJP and Trinamul have joined hands in a most unethical manner but that will make no difference to the final outcome,” said Das.

Former PCC spokesman Tapas De, however, said Congress was in a difficult position in the upcoming panchayat polls but the party was encouraging workers at the grassroots level to go for an electoral understanding with the Trinamul.

“We cannot do well in this election but we will try to improve the position for future. People of Tripura are not very happy with the Left Front; let us see how things shape up,” said De.


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