The Telegraph
Monday , July 21 , 2014
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Result seal on Cong decimation in Tripura

Agartala, July 20: The decimation of the Congress as the main Opposition party here has been confirmed in cold figures with the declaration of the results of the three-tier panchayat elections.

The elections to 591 gram panchayats of which the Left Front captured a whopping 563, reduced the Congress to virtual non-existence with only 19 gram panchayats.

The BJP could secure only five gram panchayats for the first time while the Trinamul Congress got only three with results of one gram panchayat, Boxanagar, remained tied. In the results of 35 panchayat samitis, the CPM made a clean sweep by capturing 412 seats out of the 419, leaving only seven seats for the Congress. The Trinamul and the BJP drew a complete blank in the election to panchayat samitis.

Similarly in the elections to the zilla parishads, the CPM made a clean sweep by capturing all and by conceding only one among 116 seats to the Congress with the BJP and the Trinamul drawing a blank.

During his two-year tenure as PCC president, former MLA Surajit Dutta had tried to revive the party and there were signs of improvement in the situation as the Congress could capture two of the 15 nagar panchayats in the election held in December 2010.

But the removal of Dutta from the post of PCC president in July 2012, only seven months ahead of state Assembly elections, wreaked havoc. In the Assembly polls in February 2013, the Congress could secure only 10 of the 60 seats.

The Left Front was a runaway winner in the polls winning 50 out of 60 seats. The outcome of the Lok Sabha polls held in April-May this year, the Congress lost both the seats by huge margins of more than 4 lakh votes. How the Congress would perform in the panchayat polls was clear at the very beginning as the party could put up candidates in only one third of the 6,646 seats in the three-tier system. To worsen matters, the leader of the Opposition Sudip Roy Barman had told party workers and supporters to vote for any party in the absence of Congress candidates.

“These comments and the total lack of leadership and organisation had totally demoralised the party workers and supporters; our main problem is total lack of a credible leadership,” said former MLA and PCC spokesman Tapas De.

De said the reverses in the election would lead to deepening of factional feud and orchestrated demand for removal of PCC president Dibachandra Hrangkhawal and Roy Barman. “What will happen ultimately cannot be predicted because the party high command seems to be paralysed by the post-debacle blues in the Lok Sabha polls.

Youth Congress president Sushanta Chowdhury said the outcome of the rural polls would not be repeated in the upcoming elections to nagar panchayats or the ADC.