Agartala, June 21 – The over a month-long hectic poll campaign for the June 23 by-elections to four assembly seats in Tripura came to an end on Tuesday even as a tense situation prevailed in some areas of these poll-bound constituencies. The campaign was marred by violent incidents.
Former BJP government minister Sudip Roy Barman, who is now contesting from the Agartala constituency on a Congress ticket, was injured when ‘BJP activists’ allegedly attacked him late on Sunday night. Barman, a five-time MLA from the politically important Agartala constituency, is now under treatment at a private hospital in Agartala.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, Trinamool Congress National General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee and leaders of other political parties took part in the campaign. The focus was on the Town Bordowali Assembly constituency, where 69-year-old Congress-turned-BJP leader and Chief Minister Manik Saha is contesting against five other candidates.
Saha, the state party president and a Rajya Sabha member who assumed office on May 15, a day after Biplab Kumar Deb’s resignation from the top post, is contesting the elections for the first time. He has to become a member of the Assembly within six months. The CPI-M, Congress, Trinamool Congress and the ruling BJP have submitted a series of complaints to the Election Commission about the political violence and violation of the model code of conduct ahead of the by-polls.
The by-polls were necessitated after the resignation of three BJP MLAs and the death of CPI-M legislator Ramendra Chandra Debnath. Amid open resentment in a section of BJP legislators against the then CM Deb, three MLAs — Sudip Roy Barman (Agartala), Ashish Kumar Saha (Town Bordowali) and Ashis Das (Surma) — quit the BJP and the Assembly. Roy Barman, also a former BJP minister, and Saha joined the Congress in February this year while Das joined the TMC last year. Das last month also resigned from the TMC.
Elected from the Jubarajnagar constituency six times, Debnath was Assembly Speaker multiple times. He passed away on February 2 in Kolkata due to kidney failure.
As the BJP, CPI-M led Left Front, Congress and the Trinamool Congress and other local parties put up their candidates, the by-elections would be multi-cornered. The votes will be counted on June 26.