Has the Left Front struck a deal with the right-wing BJP in Tripura? The middle-path Congress thinks so.
The BJP, which garnered only 2% votes in the 2008 assembly elections, has put up 50 candidates in a bid to make a debut in the 60-member Tripura assembly.
The Congress is contesting 48 seats, leaving the remaining 12 to two tribal parties - Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (11) and National Conference of Tripura (1). The CPM and its Left allies are contesting all 60.
"Colour-wise, red (Left) and saffron (BJP) have the same base. In Tripura politics, they are two sides of the same coin. The Manik Sarkar government is discreetly funding the BJP's campaign in a bid to erode the anti-Left vote base," said Sudip Roy Barman, Tripura Congress president, who is seeking to retain the Agartala seat.
State BJP president Sudhindra Dasgupta dismissed the Congress allegation as childish.
"Their leaders are either scared of our gradual growth in Tripura or are naive enough to link us with the Leftists," he said.
CPM state secretary Bijan Dhar too ridiculed the red-saffron deal claim.
"Ideologically, the Congress is closer to the BJP than we are," he said.