Ruling BJP clashed with opposition Congress as well as its state ally- Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) over submission of nomination papers at different places since Monday. The candidates have been submitting papers for approaching bye-elections in three-tier panchayats bodies in the state.
A group of Congress supporters led by the party’s state president Birajit Sinha reached Dukli Rural Development (RD) Block Tuesday morning to submit nomination papers for the bye-election. They were faced by resistance from a group of BJP activists near the Block Development Officer’s (BDO) office, resulting in a clash that started at 11 am.
A police officer from Amtali police station, who didn’t wish to be named, said, “The clash started at 11 am between supporters of two political parties. An officer was injured during the clash. We had to burst tear gas cells and issued mild lathi charge to control the situation”.
Pradesh Congress president Birajit Sinha accused BJP supporters of leading the charge against Congress and said several party leaders including himself sustained injuries. Many women were also wounded in the clash, Sinha added.
BJP clashes with ally IPFT
BJP and IPFT also clashed with each other at Boxanagar in Sipahijala district, 60 km from here yesterday when the latter went to submit nomination papers for the bye-polls. Three persons including Sonamura Sub-Divisional Police Officer Rajdip Deb were injured, officials said.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, Sipahijala district Superintendent of Police Kulwant Singh said supporters of both parties engaged in a clash at Boxanagar under Kalamchowra police station yesterday afternoon. The incident occurred when IPFT supporters were on their way to submit nomination papers to the office of Boxanagar Block Development Officer (BDO).
“We intervened and issued mild lathi charge and burst tear gas cells to disperse the mob. There were three persons injured in the clash including an SDPO”, the police official said.
On the issue, Youth IPFT president Shuklacharan Noatia said he was “saddened” by attack on his party workers by BJP.
“We are in an alliance with BJP in the state government. After mutual consultation, we went to submit nomination papers at Boxanagar. Some BJP leaders led by Baharul Islam Majumder stopped us on our way. Later BJP supporters attacked us with stones, countrymade bombs, sticks and injured many of us. Three IPFT supporters are admitted at GBP Hospital. This is most unfortunate”, Shuklacharan said.
The youth IPFT leader also said he informed about the issue to senior BJP leaders including Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb. A complaint was lodged at Kalachakra police station on the issue, he added.
David Debbarma, a youth indigenous rights activist, who accompanied the IPFT leaders to Boxanagar, sustained injuries during the attack.
BJP and IPFT also clashed at Belonia in South Tripura and Golaghati in Sipahijala district earlier this month.
Reacting to allegations of attacking IPFT and Congress supporters, BJP spokesperson Mrinal Kanti Deb said his party wasn’t involved in any attack on them.
“IPFT is our ally in state government. There is no strain in the relationship. We also believe in friendly, democratic electoral exercise and have not attacked Congress supporters. These are baseless allegations”, Deb said.
Meanwhile, both BJP and IPFT have already announced to contest against each other in the coming Panchayat bye-elections and 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
On the issue, Deb claimed the clashes were “local issues” which would not affect BJP’s alliance with IPFT in government.