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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 25 June 2024

Bengal elections 2021: Come and see what BJP did in Tripura, warns Manik Sarkar

The extraordinary appeal to Bengal was made on Tuesday by the former CM at a rally in Burdwan

Snehamoy Chakraborty Burdwan Published 03.02.21, 02:37 AM
Sarkar at the Burdwan rally

Sarkar at the Burdwan rally Munshi Muklesur Rahaman

Take a train to Tripura, talk to rickshaw pullers and grocers and learn from them what a blunder they committed by voting the BJP to power in the state.

The extraordinary appeal to Bengal was made on Tuesday by Manik Sarkar, the former chief minister of Tripura and one of the most respected Left leaders in the country.

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“Don’t even think of bringing the BJP here merely because they did not rule Bengal. You can understand from the experience of Tripura and the entire country. You saw the government’s role against farmers, minorities and others,” Sarkar told an impressive rally on the Town Hall ground in Burdwan.

The CPM politburo member was unsparing of the Trinamul Congress also, criticising the party’s 10-year rule and referring to “cut money”.

But what stood out was the 72-year-old leader’s narration of the events in Tripura during the 34-month rule of the BJP that had ousted the Left from its one-time bastion.

“This BJP is now trying to grab power in West Bengal. They will tell you about your experiences of the governments of the Congress, the Left and Trinamul here in Bengal and request you to see the BJP once,” Sarkar told the rally that drew 10,000 people.

Sarkar added: “They will convince you with several assurances and request you to vote for them…. But don’t ruin the state by inviting that force.

“Take a train and visit Tripura.… You don’t need to talk to CPM leaders but you talk to common people like rickshaw pullers, grocers… to know the reality. They will surely tell you what a blunder they committed by voting for the BJP. They are now waiting for the next poll to repair their mistake.”

He urged the people of Bengal not to vote for the BJP in the name of “paribartan (change)”, underscoring how the BJP was replicating in Bengal the strategy it had adopted in the run-up to the polls in Tripura in March 2018.

“They had started visiting Tripura in chartered planes in the months ahead of the elections, and they are doing the same thing here in Bengal.… The Prime Minister and Amit Shah have started visiting Bengal,” said Sarkar.

“They lured the people of Tripura by assuring guaranteed jobs for 200 days.… They told government employees that they would set up a pay commission for them like (the one for) central government employees. They assured the people that jobs would be provided for each household,” he said, recalling the pre-poll narrative that was spun in one of the most backward states in the country.

“People are hardly getting jobs for 45-56 days. The pay commission hasn’t been set up and the jobs for each household have not been delivered upon,” the CPM leader added.

With 43 per cent of the votes, the BJP secured 36 seats in the Assembly elections held in 2018 in Tripura and formed the government with Biplab Kumar Deb as the chief minister. The Left Front, after ruling the state for 25 years in a row, bagged a little over 42 per cent votes, but its tally did not cross 18 seats.

Sarkar took care to explain how things have changed in Tripura.

“Some teachers who have been protesting for months went to meet the chief minister and were attacked by masked goons.… The people are not getting justice by going to police stations,” he said, referring to a lack of democratic space in Tripura.

Sarkar also criticised the 10-year rule of the Mamata Banerjee government. “You are seeing the culture of ‘cut money’ here. The same culture the BJP has launched in Tripura and now the RSS-BJP leaders are extorting money there,” he said.

CPM leaders said they witnessed such a big gathering in the area for the first time after they lost power

“We could not accommodate all our supporters on the ground and so they assembled on different roads of Burdwan. It was so encouraging for us,” said Amal Haldar, the East Burdwan district committee secretary of the party.

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