The Telegraph
Thursday , January 17 , 2013
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CM lauds Bangla efforts

- Manik Sarkar predicts Left will gain more seats

Agartala, Jan. 16: Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar today appreciated the current Bangladesh government’s efforts to crack down on militants from the Northeast but said more could be done in this regard.

“The present Bangladesh government has initiated measures to drive away anti-India militants based there. But I think there is scope for more action. I say this, because even now 22 hideouts of outfits banned by the Tripura government exist on Bangladeshi soil. And we have asked the Union home minister and Union external affairs minister to take up this issue with Bangladesh during bilateral talks,” Sarkar said.

Describing militancy as the “bane of Tripura and the Northeast in general”, Sarkar said if not for insurgency, Tripura would have achieved much more in terms of development and poverty eradication.

On the upcoming Assembly polls, Sarkar said he expected the Left Front to do even better this time.

“Tripura is a small state but Left movement in India will take off again from here,” he said.

“The commitments that we had made before the last Assembly elections in 2008 have been fulfilled. In fact, we have gone ahead and implemented programmes that were beyond the commitments made in the manifesto. So, there is no reason why people should not appreciate this. The Left Front will return with more votes and more seats.”

In 2008, the Left Front secured 49 out of 60 Assembly seats and got 51.34 per cent of votes, and this time both the vote share and seats of the Left Front will go up, Sarkar said.

Sarkar lashed out at the Opposition Congress for announcing a monthly dole for the unemployed, if they come to power.

“I do not know how the Congress can make such irresponsible commitments merely to get votes? Tripura is still a backward, special category state, dependent on central assistance and grants. Giving unemployment dole is a matter of policy, unless the Centre agrees to this where will the funds come from? And can the Centre agree to this for Tripura, leaving out 27 other states and seven Union Territories? The issue has larger implications and the Centre itself is dealing with a resource crunch and budgetary imbalance. Hence, this is just a pre-poll gimmick, which the Congress can afford to give because the party leaders know they will never win the elections,” Sarkar said.

He also said the state BJP president had written a letter to chief secretary S.K. Panda complaining that the Congress had been distributing a printed application form for unemployment dole addressed to the chief secretary, demanding to know the government’s position in this regard.

“Naturally, the chief secretary had to issue a statement declaring that he or the state government had nothing to do with the distribution of the so-called application form for dole. Now, what do you term such activities of the Congress? It will boomerang on them in the elections,” said Sarkar.

He also criticised PCC president Sudip Roy Barman for his letter to the Union HRD ministry, demanding a ban on recruitment of primary sch-ool teachers.

“A party and its leaders who work against unemployed youths will never get the people’s support in an election or in any other political action,” the chief minister said.