“The Left Front is finished in West Bengal. It is almost finished in Kerala. Now we have to finish the left ideology in Tripura,” Gandhi said at a campaign rally in Sipahijali, close to the border with Bangladesh and which falls under the West Tripura Lok Sabha constituency.
Left parties – the ruling CPM and the CPI – together occupy 50 seats in the 60-seat Tripura State Assembly and both LS members from the state belong to the CPM. The Congress occupies 10 state assembly seats and has not won a parliamentary seat from Tripura since 1996.
Targeting female voters, Gandhi also alleged women were not safe in the state and that “gangrapes are taking place”, but “CPM cadres are not punished”.
Targeting tribal voters in Tripura, where about 33 per cent of the population is tribal and one of the two parliamentary seats is reserved for ST candidates, Gandhi also recalled his “I am your sipahi in Delhi” message to Orissa tribals after the Centre halted Vedanta’s plans to mine the Niyamgiri hills and said the Congress “will definitely strengthen” the tribal autonomous council in Tripura.
Tribal parties have been demanding this, with one having demanded a separate tribal state recently.
Gandhi also lauded the Centre’s various schemes including the Look East Policy that seeks to link the country with neighbouring countries, the MGNREGA and the Food Security legislation and alleged Tripura farmers do not get adequate prices for their produce.