Agartala, Sep. 12 (PTI): Differences between the BJP and its regional partner Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) have come to the fore in the run up to panchayat bye-elections, with a series of clashes between the workers of the ruling allies over submission of nominations.
Bypoll will be held on September 30 in over 3,000 seats in gram panchayats, panchayat samitis and zilla parishads, which were rendered vacant due to resignation of public representatives since March this year in Tripura.
The IPFT, which is contesting against ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) l, claimed its candidates could submit nominations in only 10 out of the 35 rural development blocks of Tripura. It demanded that the Election Commission put off the by-elections where candidates were unable to file nominations freely.
The opposition CPI (M) in Tripura also demanded immediate postponement of the panchayat bye-elections or extension of the time period for filing nomination papers.
IPFT general secretary Mangal Debbarma alleged that the BJP supporters have attacked IPFT activists in different districts since they “didn’t want the indigenous party to grow strong”.
Election exercise could not be carried out in some of the rural development blocks and aspirant candidates could not file their nomination even on the last date, he told reporters.
The State Election Commission is requested to take immediate decision to exclude such blocks from the purview of the present election exercise, an IPFT executive committee resolution, which was circulated at the press conference, said.
The party also urged the state Election Commission to reschedule by-polls in those blocks at the earliest.
Signalling a rift between the allies which came together to form a government in March, the IPFT general secretary said his party and all its front organizations would soon launch a statewide movement for Tipraland, a proposed separate state for indigenous communities.
He urged the BJP to hold an immediate state level joint meeting with IPFT and said “findings of the meeting would decide the nature of the movement”.
Meanwhile, IPFT supremo and revenue minister Narendra Chandra Debbarma alleged that “rule of law is under question in Tripura”.
“Severe chaos was created in different blocks on Tuesday the last day of nomination submission for three tier panchayat polls,” he said.
State police control room said Wednesday that clashes were reported from Boxanagar, Dhanpur and Melaghar in Sipahijala district, Amtali in West Tripura, Kamalpur in Dhalai, Dharmanagar in North Tripura, Gournagar in Khowai district and from other parts of the state yesterday.
The IPFT called an emergency meeting Wednesday morning to conduct a detailed review of the state’s political situation.
The IPFT supremo, however, refused to name the attackers and said miscreants led the charge against its supporters in different districts.
Asked why BJP and IPFT are not fighting together in the panchayat by-polls, NC Debbarma said, “We are allies in government. Though there is no formal decision, we have discussed that we shall have a friendly contest in panchayat bye-election. It was a gentleman’s agreement”.
When contacted, BJP spokesperson Mrinal Kanti Deb said that his party supporters did not attack any person, group of any political party during filing of nominations, which ended on Tuesday.
Some miscreants had attacked BJP activists and supporters when they went to file nominations, Deb claimed.
Sipahijala district Superintendent of Police Kulwant Singh told PTI that the situation is normal there but adequate deployment of police and para-military forces was made and patrolling was also intensified in vulnerable areas.
Meanwhile, an FIR was filed by BJP MLA Birchanda Debbarma at Takarjala police station, 25 km from here, on September 10 night accusing a group of unidentified miscreants of breaking open his residential gate and damaging the property.
The MLA was not in the house during the attack but his family was terrified. Investigation is continuing but nobody has been arrested so far, the SP said.
The Opposition CPI (M) attacked the BJP and IPFT over the situation in the state.
CPI (M) spokesperson Goutam Das alleged that a fascist rule is prevailing in Tripura under BJP-IPFT coalition government. Opposition supporters, common people, even policemen are not spared from attacks of BJP and IPFT supporters, Das alleged.
“An unusual and abnormal situation is prevailing in the state. Election can’t be held in such a situation,” he added.
Dhalai district superintendent Sudipta Das said Wednesday that Kamalpur Sub Divisional Police Officer of Dhalai district, Shankar Das, and other officials including a police station in-charge were injured when they tried to lift a blockade at Srirampur, 10 Km away from Kamalpur town.
A convoy of IPFT MLA Dhananjoy Tripura was attacked in the area earlier Tuesday at Srirampur and two of his vehicles were damaged, the official said. The blockade was subsequently staged by IPFT supporters, Das said.
He also informed that a service rifle of a policeman was dropped during mob control operation but was later recovered. Adequate deployment was made to maintain peace.