Buoyed by their performance in the Lok Sabha elections in Tripura, state Congress president Pradyot Kishore Deb Barman Thursday said his party will contest in all seats in forthcoming Gram Panchayat elections likely to be held in July and will win if free and fair polls are ensured.
“The Congress party will contest in all seats of Gram Panchayat elections. We are in the field and we will contest to win. If free and fair elections are held, we shall definitely win,” the state Congress chief told a press conference this afternoon.
The party will contest the rural body elections on ‘local issues’ such as safe drinking water, higher wages, rural healthcare services etc.
Claiming a sharp spike in vote share in the 2019 general elections, Pradyot said his party would stage candidates in all seats of three-tier panchayat bodies, including 6,111 seats in 591 Gram Panchayats, 419 seats of 35 Panchayat Samiti bodies and 116 seats in eight Zilla Parishads.
He claimed his party will hold its tempo from Lok Sabha results and secure victory in rural body elections if free and fair elections are held.
Asked if Congress would suffer from the division of votes at the hands of the communist party, Pradyot said he was campaigning across the countryside in Tripura for the past few weeks and did not find any Left leaders on the field.
“We have been campaigning in different parts of the state. We didn’t find any Left leaders there. They have given us full free hand,” he said.
The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) was a political non-entity till 2013 which had bagged 1.5 per cent vote share in state assembly elections that year. The party bolstered its chances with an aggressive campaign and had bagged 43 per cent vote share in 2018, forming the government with a single majority, albeit in alliance with Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT).
Meanwhile, CPI(M) which held the fort in the state for 25 years was reduced to 16 MLAs in the 60-member Assembly. But Congress, which was reduced to 1.8 per cent vote share in assembly polls, rose to bag nearly 30 per cent vote share in recently concluded Lok Sabha polls.
Earlier in September 2018, 3,207 different gram panchayat bodies, 161 seats of panchayat Samit and 18 zilla parishad seats underwent bye-elections. BJP won uncontested in 96 per cent of these seats and 130 seats finally went to polls.