Pradyot the likely kingmaker

Biswanath Bhattacharya

February 13, 2023, 13:04:05   

Pradyot the likely kingmaker

Poll pundits in Tripura are uncharacteristically circumspect and unwilling to hazard a prediction on the outcome of the state assembly elections.

There is considerable anti-incumbency wave against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is being blamed for not delivering on its promises of development and good governance.

The BJP rode to power in Tripura in 2018 on the promise of fast-paced socio-economic development.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Front, which had ruled the state uninterruptedly for 25 years from 1993 to 2018, was voted out of power for failing to improve the lives of the poverty-stricken citizens of the backward state But despite some showpiece projects, the lives of the people have not improved as much over the last five years. Most people, especially the tribals who form 30 per cent of the state’s population, remain poor with poor access to healthcare and education.

Good governance, as promised by the BJP, has eluded Tripura. So much so that the party’s central leadership was forced to step in and show the door to then chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb in May last year.

Deb, who had earned a lot of ridicule for his series of gaffes, had developed the image of an inefficient and vain administrator.

The BJP central leadership realised that Deb was responsible for the growing anti-incumbency against the BJP-led coalition government. Deb, due to his arbitrary style of functioning, had alienated many within the party and, as a result, factionalism was on the rise in the state unit of the party.

But many remain sceptical and assert that while the Left had devastated Tripura, the BJP has not been able to bring about the change it had promised.

The BJP made a lot of promises, but the poor have not experienced any significant changes in their lives. Poverty still exists, unemployment is still high, and many areas of the state have witnessed little development in terms of infrastructure, healthcare, education, sanitation, etc.

The roads are as bad as what they were five years ago, the people are still poor, and they still don’t have proper healthcare or educational institutions. There are virtually no employment opportunities. People are frustrated,

Though the Opposition parties constituted by an alliance of CPI(M) and the Congress have not been able to match the high-decibel campaign mounted by the BJP, which has been flying in a host of its top leaders like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to campaign for the party, they have been able to make considerable  inroads . 
BJP leaders are campaigning hard against the Tipra Motha formed by the royal scion Pradyot Kishore Debbarma.  BJP is  accusing Motha  of being a surrogate of the communists. But the tribal populace is too intelligent to be duped.  

It cannot be said altogether that there is no understanding of the royal scion with the CPM and Congress alliance. Tipra Motha has not fielded any candidate against Jiten Choudhury , rather appealed to the voters of the concerned area to vote Jiten is poignant enough. The sudden appearance of Shri Pradyot Kishore in an Election meeting of Shri Purosttam Roy Barman , the independent candidate supported by the CPI(M) and Congress alliance do speak some internecine understanding  and is never coincidental .
I have studied the scenario from a very objective dimension. I do not think any party will get the conclusive mandate to form the government.  There will be fractured mandate and the King will be the real kingmaker. And in the worst scenario President’s rule keeping the state Assembly in animated suspension.  
It must be praised in the same breath that there has not been a major deterioration of the Law & Order, Shri Kiran Gitte , the Election Commissioner has proved his mettle. Given that the amity will prevail on election day also, I am confident that people will be able to exercise their franchise fearlessly.