Agartala, Aug. 19: All eyes in state politics are now focussed on byelection to the Manu Ghat Assembly constituency reserved for the indigenous community.
According to the poll schedule announced by the Election Commission, election to the seat will be held on September 13 while counting of ballots will be done on September 16.
Chief electoral officer Ashutosh Jindal said the last date for filing nominations is August 27 while the last date for withdrawing nominations is August 30.
The Manu Ghat (ST) Assembly constituency had been won five consecutive times between 1993 and 2013 by veteran tribal leader of CPM and former minister for forest and rural development Jiten Chowdhury.
He was elected this time as CPM MP from tribal reserve East Tripura seat in May this year and he vacated the Assembly constituency.
Though the Manu Ghat constituency has been a traditional bastion of the CPM for the past two decades, all parties are ready for a tough fight in the upcoming September 13 bypoll.
Having already stolen a march on the Opposition in terms of campaigning and organisational preparations, the CPM will hold a meeting of the party’s state committee tomorrow to finalise the name of the candidate.
Though an announcement in this regard is yet to be made, CPM sources said that veteran party activist and officer of the agriculture department Prabhat Chowdhury, belonging to Noatia community, is expected to be the nominee for the byelection.
However, a final announcement regarding the CPM’s candidature will be made only after the state committee meeting.
The beleaguered Congress — which suffered an unprecedented drubbing in both Lok Sabha and panchayat polls — is trying to put up a semblance of a fight in the byelection.
In the Lok Sabha elections, Congress candidates had lost both the seats by margins of more than 4.5 lakh votes while in the three-tier panchayat polls, the party could win only 19 of altogether 591 gram panchayats.
Despite the setbacks, PCC president Dibachandra Hrankhawal, working president Asish Saha and leader of the Opposition Sudip Roy Barman have visited Manu Ghat Assembly seat and requested party workers to select a candidate through consensus and work in a united manner to ensure victory of the party candidate.
“We will not impose any candidate. The workers have been requested to select a candidate through consensus and the PCC will endorse him. Most probably Malafru Mog, a local and popular leader of the community, will be selected,” said Roy Barman.
He added in any byelection the ruling party has an advantage.
“The Congress will fight hard this time. We had won Manu Ghat twice in 1983 and 1988.”
The BJP and the Trinamul Congress are yet to decide their candidates.