People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXVI

No. 25

June 24, 2012

TRIPURA BYPOLL

 

CPI(M) Retains Nalchharr by Record Margin

 

Rahul Sinha

 

THE Congressís slogan of a parivartan (change) received serious drabbing in Tripura on Friday, June 15, when the result of the byelection to Nalchharr assembly constituency came out. It now transpired that the Left Front supported CPI(M) candidate, Tapan Chandra Das, had defeated his nearest rival Dwijendralal Majumdar of the Indian National Congress (INC) by a margin of 4,777 votes. It is to be noted that this margin of victory of the CPI(M) candidate is the highest among all the elections so far for this assembly segment since it was created in 1972.

 

Election to this seat was necessitated by the untimely demise of Comrade Sukumar Barman who was elected from this constituency for five consecutive terms.

 

The Congress party and the so-called mainstream media in the state, who are better known as the unofficial mouthpiece of the Congress party, had termed this election as the semi-final to the state assemblyís general election due to take place in February 2013. To capture this seat from the Left Front, the Congress party indulged in blatant use of money power on an unprecedented scale, in order to purchase votes. Apart from cash payments, gold chains, scooters, laptops, wristwatches and what not were used to bribe the voters. The Congress party and its cohorts also objected to deployment of state police as well as Tripura State Rifles (TSR) on election duty. Nay more, they raised objections to the use of election voting machines (EVMs) as well, by the stateís election department. The election agent of the CPI(M) candidate was threatened by the Congress. Just a day before the closure of the campaign, the Congress used a petty road accident to launch a false propaganda campaign that the accident was aimed at killing the PCC president as well the presidents of the Youth Congress and NSUI.

 

However, when all these antics failed, the Congress leaders lodged a number of false complaints to the Election Observer against the CPI(M). Eventually, these all proved to be bogus and anguished the voters.

 

On June 12, 2012, the polling remained completely incident free and the voter turnout broke all the past records. As many as 95.92 per cent of the 33,436 voters cast their votes while braving the scorching heat.

 

On June 15, the counting of votes started at 8 a m. As soon as the trends were available, it became clear that the CPI(M) was heading towards a massive victory. Then, when the final figures came, the CPI(M) bagged 18,001 out of the 32,073 valid votes polled. The Congress got 13,224 votes while the BJP and the Amra Bangali got 463 and 385 votes respectively. Both of the latter lost their deposits.

 

Nalchharr has traditionally been a stronghold of the CPI(M). From 1972 onwards, this assembly segment has gone to polls eight times, and the CPI(M) won it six times, barring the 1972 and 1983 polls. However, the latest CPI(M) victory was the biggest in terms of margin. Compared to 2008, the percentage of votes cast increased from 94.54 to 95.92 this time. At the same time, the margin of the CPI(M)ís victory, which was 2,532 in 2008, increased this time to 4,777. while the CPI(M) got 52.40 per cent of the votes in 2008, this time it has increased to 56.13 per cent. The Congressís vote share went down from 43.4 per cent to 41.23 per cent in the same duration.

 

At a press conference, the CPI(M) state secretary Bijan Dhar and state secretariat member Gautam Das congratulated the people of Nalchharr for reposing their faith with a greater margin in the CPI(M) and the Left Front. They termed the victory as a manifestation of popular support to the all-round developmental works carried out by the Left Front government and a clear rejection of the anarchist politics of the Congress in the state as well as the anti-people neo-liberal policies of the centre. The result, they said, would encourage the masses fighting against the neo-liberal policies of the UPA-2 government and encourage the democratic and secular masses of Tripura to decisively defeat the Congress and its cohorts once again in the ensuing battle for the assembly elections in 2013.