Tripura: massive political turmoil seems ahead next year over the ADC election

By Our Correspondent

Agartala July 12 ,2019 : With the crucial election to the 30 member ADC-28 members are elected and 2 nominated by the governor upon state government's recommendations-slated to come off in April 2020, Tripura seems to be moving inexorably towards a political turmoil. Apart from the salience of control over ADC as key to have sway over state politics, all the regional parties as well as the ruling BJP and opposition Congress and CPI (M) will engage in an all-out fight. Most significantly , the election process will be preceded by the en masse dismissal from service of 10,323 ad hoc teachers on 31st March and this is going to create a massive unrest across the state as the ad hoc teaching community, consigned to the ignominious status absolutely injudiciously , will surely be up in arms over loss of livelihood and this is all set to ignite massive unrest and turmoil in the state. This is worsened by near total lack of accommodation of even legitimate demands of regional IPFT, partner in the state's ruling coalition, and a perceptibly cynical attitude of the government to the fate of so many hapless teachers beyond cosmetic measures that will lead nowhere.

What has already indicated the slow beginning of the disquiet in state politics on and around ADC is the recent allegations of IPFT's tribal welfare minister and senior leader Mebar Kumar Jamatya's reported parleys with ADC chief Radha Charan Debbarma and former MP and GMP president Jiten Chowdhury. A section of loyalist media playing the role of vanguard has started a cacophony that Mebar Kumar Jamatya is all set to  be dropped from the council of ministers. The chief minister has reserved his comment , saying only that he has taken note of the matter even though Mebar has firmly denied having held any secret parley with Radha Charan or Jiten Chowdhury. The die seems to have been already cast.  

Traditionally and also because of electoral configurations,  the regional parties in the state have always treated ADC as the base and the launching pad for their politics . It leaves no scope for imagination that both INPT and IPFT will make a desperate bid to capture power in ADC -the former in alliance with the Congress . Going by deterioration in BJP-IPFT relationship over the past sixteen months and the big brother's continuing efforts to carve out a solid base in the tribal dominated ADC areas even at the expense of coalition partner,  may have an adverse impact on the election scene in which largescale violence is likely to be the prominent feature as earlier. Above all this, the opposition CPI (M) whose entire politics in Tripura originated from and flourished on tribal support is unlikely to remain a benign spectator as the grim drama of election unfolds early next year . Regaining tribal support is CPI (M) or the left front's top priority and the party which has consciously kept away from any provocative behaviour in the run-up to the Panchayat elections which is already lost for the party is in all probability consolidating its strength for the ADC elections. 

If history is any guide, the ADC elections in Tripura  have always been marred by largescale violence . The very first election to ADC in January 1982 had been preceded by the June 1980 riots , the second election held on June 30 1985 had been marred by violence launched by erstwhile TNV militants and a score of deaths, mostly of non-tribals. The third election held on July 8 1990 had witnessed as many as ten deaths-all non-tribals-on the polling day mostly in the hands of armed tribal supporters of CPI (M) . In 1995 it was a free run for the ATTF and NLFT rebels as CPI (M) recaptured the ADC from Congress-TUJS’s control but the election in 2000 had been reduced to a farce by gun-toting NLFT militants acting on behalf of the IPFT that captured the ADC by force. But the next three elections held in 2005,2010 and 2015 saw clean sweeps made by the CPI (M) led left front in an apparently peaceful manner. But the portends for the next elections scheduled to come off in April 2020 do not look comfortable as there will be a major fight and crossfire involving all the parties . 

How the situation will be tackled by the ruling dispensation remains to be seen but the core trouble in Tripura and the source of eternal turbulence is that all politics and electoral battles at the last point boil down to ethnic issues involving tribals and non-tribals . Going by IPFT's unruly style of cadre mobilization and the desperation of Congress, CPI (M), INPT and IPFT to stage a comeback to state politics through ADC polls may make the hustings a veritable electoral minefield prone to frequent explosions at the cost of internal stability and ethnic peace in Tripura.   


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