(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
April 26, 2009
HUGE processions all over the state of Tripura in support of the two Left Front candidates marked the end of the open campaign in Tripura as the state goes to poll on April 23, 2009. A total of 20,82,365 voters are eligible to exercise their democratic right this time. Since the morning of April 21 – the last day of the campaign – CPI(M) and Left Front workers and supporters from all walks of life organised processions at booth level all over the state. Colourful rallies were held on the streets of every sub-divisional headquarters. In the capital town of Agartala, a huge number of people took out processions from their localities. All rallies converged at Rabindra Bhavan, followed by a mammoth procession through the main streets of the town.
Women constituted the majority among participants. These rallies and people’s participation throughout the whole campaign leaves no room for doubt that a huge victory of the Left Front in both the seats is a foregone conclusion. People braved heat and rain to participate in election rallies. In one such meeting in Udaypur where CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and state chief minister Manik Sarkar was the speaker, both the speaker and the audience dared heavy showers to continue the meeting. CPI(M) state leadership termed this as a symbol of high level of political consciousness of the people, with the experience of a six-decade long history of democratic movement in the state. They know well that this election has presented before them an opportunity to establish an alternative government at the centre.
The Congress party on the other hand is totally demoralised. Even the daylong visit of its senior leader and external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee failed to enthuse Congress workers. The resentment in the Congress on the issue of distribution of election funds seemed deep. As the open campaign came to an end the Congress in the state is in tatters. The morale of the workers and supporters is at an all-time low. Everyday the support base of the 125-year-old national party is eroding with ordinary Congress rank and file openly coming out in public meetings to declare their support for the CPI(M).
The Congress, which is getting more and more isolated from the people, once again forged an alliance with the INPT, the political wing of the secessionist extremists. Manik Sarkar in his speech at a rally said while the central leadership of the Congress and the prime minister keep asking the whole nation to launch a unified fight against terrorism, their own party in different states are joining hands with extremists and separatists. The extremist groups in the state are getting reduced and immobilised due to constant political-ideological campaign of the CPI(M) and Left Front and also due to regular operations conducted by the security forces. Though the number of extremists in the state is much less the state government is not taking any chance and has made elaborate security arrangements for ensuring peaceful vote.
Congress leaders are apprehensive that the results in these election will be worse compared to the results of the assembly elections. In 2004 elections, CPI(M) candidate, Khagen Das was one of the six winning candidates who got 70 per cent of the votes polled. This time the only challenge is to increase the winning margin. For Bajuban Reang, the other Left Front candidate, it is time to set a new record by winning for the seventh time.