(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
March 06, 2011
Left Front Scores Huge Victory in ADC Village Committee Polls
THE hills of Tripura have stood firm in their tradition of support to the Red Flag. The dominance of the Left Front now continues for the second consecutive term in the villages falling under the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous Development Council (TTAADC, or in short ADC). According to the results that were declared by the night of February 26, the Left Front has captured about 90 per cent of the village committees (VCs) and 85 per cent of the VC seats in the tribal areas of the state. The colour of red thus made the spring of the hills brighter as the jubilant supporters of the Left Front indulged in festivities.
In a press conference issued on February 27, the Tripura Left Front Committee congratulated the masses of the ADC areas and termed the results as a huge verdict in favour of peace and development.
One notes that a village committee in the Tripura ADC areas is an equivalent of Gram Panchayats in non-ADC areas. As the Gram Panchayat Act provisioning for a three-tier system is not enforceable in the ADC areas, the Village Committee Act (with the provision of a single-tier body) was introduced in 2006 for the ADC areas in order to empower and involve the villagers in development works. In the original act, apart from the ST and SC reservations in each village according to their share of population, one-third of the seats were reserved for woman. This time, after an amendment to the act, reservation for women has been raised to 50 per cent.
It was the second time that village committees in ADC areas have gone to the polls. This time, elections to the 527 VCs were held on February 24, with a voter turnout of around 89 per cent. Also, by-elections for the 7 vacant seats of Panchayat Samitis and 83 seats of Gram Panchayats were also held simultaneously. Out of the 4,293 seats of in the VCs, election on one seat was held up due to procedural problems.
The whole process of Left Front campaign and polling went off completely peacefully. The counting too was mostly peaceful, except an incident in Jampuijala block. Here the Congress and INPT miscreants attacked the Left Front supporters, as the only village they had won last time also went in favour of the Left Front this time. The miscreants also attacked the policemen who tried to pacify the mob. A CI and an OC were injured in the attack while a constable succumbed to heart attack as the armed mob attacked the local police station.
According to the results announced, the Left Front won in 473 villages, the Congress-INPT combine won in 52 villages, independents won in one village while the result was undecided in one. Out of the 4,292 seats, the Left Front won in 3,648, the Congress-INPT combine in 624 and independents in 20. The Left Front won all the 7 seats of in Panchayat Samitis and 75 out of the 83 Gram Panchayat seats.
It is to be noted that while the Congress and the secessionist Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) had last time contested the village committee polls separately, they had had an alliance this time. This is what in the main explains their gain this time. Another factor was that the other anti-Left Front parties were not serious contestants and, if anything, they strove to tacitly mobilise their voters in support of the opposition alliance.
The Tripura Left Front Committee termed the results as a huge verdict in favour of peace and development. In a press conference, the CPI(M) state committee secretary Bijan Dhar congratulated the voters, workers of the Left Front and all the elected members of the VCs. He expressed the hope that the verdict would strengthen the trend of peaceful tolerant politics to move forward for more development.
Bijan Dhar said that even though elections are a political struggle, various local factors like the social composition of the voters, of candidates, people’s sentiments, performance of the previous VC etc play a significant role in elections like that of a village committee. We have to find out if we suffered from some organisational weaknesses and mistakes in choosing the candidates. This time the Congress had a formal alliance with the INPT, while the Bharatiya Janata Party and Nationalist Congress Party drew a blank, and the Trinamul Congress had not contested. However, Dhar said, though we had chances of a better result, they did not materialise. Now that the people have given their verdict, the opposition has won in some villages of strategic importance. The insurgents have done immense damage to the state by opposing development. Now people have to remain vigilant so that these forces do not take advantage of the situation.
Dhar also accused the centre of having created almost an economic blockade against the state. Compared to what the state government had demanded, the 13th Finance Commission awarded it much less an amount. The state is not getting even the sanctioned amount of money in the annual plan. Dhar said these are attempts to strangulate the Left Front government, which are at the same time harming the interests of the people of Tripura. The CPI(M) leader said the party would organise the masses against such attempts and urged upon all the elected members, irrespective of their political affiliations, to ensure that the flow of funds for developmental activities in their areas do not run dry.
Through a statement issued separately, Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar also asserted that the mandate of the village voters was clearly in favour of peace, harmony and development. He congratulated the electorate, the officers, employees, security personnel and all the candidates, irrespective of party affiliations, for having helped in peaceful conduct of the VC elections. He further appealed to all concerned to renounce political partisanship in guiding and building the villages of Tripura with whatever limited resources there are.