BJP’s Ram Madhav calls on Tripura ex-CM Manik Sarkar as CPI(M) protests post-poll violence
BJP leader Ram Madhav met former Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar in Agartala on Thursday, inviting him to attend the oath-taking ceremony of the Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state.
Madhav praised Sarkar -- also a CPI-M politburo member -- and said he has qualities that other leaders should emulate. BJP’s CM-elect Biplab Kumar Deb too was present in the meeting.
But the Tripura unit of the CPI(M) said it has decided to boycott Friday’s swearing-in ceremony of the state’s first BJP government to protest the post-poll violence, though Sarkar might attend the event.
According to the CPI(M) — which is ideologically opposed to the BJP — more than 100 party cadre and supporters were injured and property was vandalised in the violence.
The BJP came to power after toppling the 25-year-old Left Front government in the state.
“We will boycott the ceremony. But outgoing chief minister Manik Sarkar, ex-finance minister Badal Choudhury and a few others will attend the ceremony,” CPI(M) secretary Bijan Dhar said on Thursday.
“Around 348 party offices were ransacked, 75 offices and 199 houses were gutted in fire, and more than 200 party offices were put under lock in different parts of the state till Wednesday night,” said Dhar.
The CPI(M) has urged the election commission to postpone the polling in Charilam constituency scheduled on March 12, alleging that supporters of the BJP and its ally, the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura, were indulging in violence.
CPI(M) central committee member Goutam Das said, “The unprecedented terror forced our candidate for Charilam seat, Palash Debbarma, to seek shelter outside the constituency.”
The Congress also accused the BJP of forcibly taking over 15 of its party offices in different parts of the state, including the one in CM designate Biplab Kumar Deb’s constituency, Banamalipur.
“We accepted the people’s mandate. But we condemn the BJP’s possession of our offices forcefully and we will seek the DGP’s intervention,” said Congress president Birajit Sinha.
The BJP denied the CPI(M) and Congress allegations. BJP spokesperson Mrinal Kanti Deb said the CPI(M) had triggered the violence prior to the swearing-in ceremony.