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Ahead of Assembly Polls in Tripura: Seat sharing strategy between Congress-CPIM falls flat

The much hyped seat-sharing strategy between the Congress and CPIM in Tripura has totally crumbled on the last day of nomination paper submission for the upcoming February 16 Assembly polls in the State as both parties broke the understanding on seat sharing.


The unity in Opposition camp went for a toss after Left Front jumped into the fray and submitted nominations in 13 more seats after Congress announced candidates for 17 seats.


At present, Left Front is contesting in all the 60 seats while Congress in 16 seats – in one seat, Congress candidate did not submit nomination papers.  If no further political development takes place between Congress and CPIM, the present situation will surely ensure multi-corner poll contests giving the ruling BJP a distinct advantage.


When Congress announced that it would contest in 17 seats, there was no genuine initiative from the CPIM to desist the Congress – on the last day of nomination submission; CPIM sprung a surprise by filing nominations in 13 seats which were kept aside by the party for Congress.


This intricate planning and deft execution made the Congress leaders and supporters bewildered and helpless.


CPIM took us for a ride – if there were nothing like seat sharing, we could contest in all the 60 seats”, lamented a Congress leader.


Earlier, CPIM led Left Front announced seat sharing with the Congress for the ‘sake of opposition unity to oust BJP from power’ and kept 47 seats for the Left Front and allotted only 13 seats to Congress.


The ‘big brother’ attitude of CPIM did not go down well with Congress supporters and the proposal of 13 seats came as a ‘humiliation’. This announcement was a deliberate attempt to down grade the Congress and project it as a junior partner of CPIM, alleged Congress supporters in Agartala.


In an attempt to salvage some of its self-esteem, Congress decided to field candidates in 17 seats, instead of 13 as allotted by the CPIM.


In a shrewd and apparent retaliatory move, CPIM surprised all and submitted nominations in the 13 seats. The move is seen as retaliatory and challenging as CPIM put up party’s one of the seasoned politicans and former MP Sankar Prasad Dutta against sitting Congress MLA Sudip Roy Barman.


Interestingly, in the last by-polls to four Assembly seats in June 2022, CPIM nominated less-known candidate against Roy Barman paving way for his victory against the BJP candidate. However, this time, CPIM fielded a veteran leader against Roy Barman sending out a loud message to ‘junior partner’ to fall in line.


There is still scope for withdrawal of nominations – and it is expected that top brass of both parties would come out with a solution and re-fix the ‘shattered’ Opposition unity.


Even if the so called unity is restored, how much public faith this ‘unity’ will earn is a matter of deep doubts.  

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