January 28, 2018 4:55:36 am
The BJP central committee on Saturday announced candidates for 44 of 51 seats the party will fight in the Tripura Assembly elections, with all former Congress MLAs who jumped ship — first to the Trinamool Congress, and then the BJP last year — named in the first list.
The BJP is yet to announce candidates for seven seats. Sources said multiple names are being considered for these seats and party leaders were unable to arrive at a consensus on Saturday.
The meeting, chaired by BJP president Amit Shah, was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and members of the party’s central committee.
The BJP will contest on 11 of the 20 Assembly constituencies reserved for Scheduled Tribe (ST) candidates, leaving nine, out of the total 60 seats in the Assembly, for its ally, tribal separatist Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT). Tripura goes to the polls on February 18.
Sudip Roy Burman, who had won the Agartala seat on a Congress ticket in the last election, had joined the BJP in August 2017 along with five others: Ashish Kumar Saha (MLA from Town Bordowali seat), Diba Chandra Hrangkhwal (Karamchhara), Biswa Bandhu Sen (Dharmanagar), Pranajit Singh Roy (Radhakishorepur) and Dilip Sarkar (Badharghat).
They have all got BJP tickets from the same constituencies. All these are urban and semi-urban seats, the traditional Congress stronghold in the state.
Two other former Congress MLAs, Subal Bhowmik (MLA from Sonamura) and Manoj Deb (Kamalpur), have also received BJP tickets.
Tripura BJP prabhari Sunil Deodhar said, “We had conducted three surveys and tickets were given on the basis of these.”
State Congress vice-president Tapas Dey said, “Just because they are sitting MLAs will not make it an easy fight for them…because they now represent the BJP.”
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