On 27th March, the Tripura Left Front Committee announced its list of candidates for the forthcoming elections of the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC), to be held in May. CPI(M) Tripura state committee secretary Bijan Dhar released the list at a press conference. He was accompanied by CPI(M) state secretariat member Gautam Das, CPI leader Prashanta Kapali, RSP leader Dipak Deb and AIFB state secretary Shyamal Ray.

Bijan Dhar said, like all other elections, the Left Front will fight this election unitedly. CPI(M) will contest in 25 seats while the three other constituent parties of the Front will contest in one seat each. The list includes 6 new faces {all from CPI(M)}and 3 women candidates.

Bijan Dhar said that although only the electorate of the TTAADC area will vote in this election, but the election has bearing for the whole state because. Developmental work is going on in the state on a massive scale. The Left Front government and other elected autonomous bodies are working in close cohesion in implementing these developmental programs. The once underdeveloped tribal areas are fast changing.

“But the most essential prerequisite for this developmental work to continue is peace and harmony. Hence we appeal to the electorates to ensure the victory of the Left Front for peace, harmony and development,” Dhar said.

Linking this electoral battle with the struggle for secularism, he said that the Left has always been at the forefront of the struggle to defend secularism. With BJP coming to power at the Centre and the increased activity of the RSS-BJP combine in spreading communal tension we are attaching greater importance to this elections as a part of the struggle to safeguard secularism.

At the same time, in this election, a crucial question before us is whether the state of Tripura will remain united, said Dhar. Criticising the IPFT’s demand for a separate state he said they want to divide this small state of ours. With this end in view they are trying to misguide a section of the youth and students, campaigning door to door with a map of their proposed state of Twipraland. This is dangerous for the unity and integrity of the state.

In 2000, IPFT had captured the ADC with the help of the outlawed extremist groups and remained in office as a puppet of these extremists. The Congress had virtually supported IPFT by not contesting in most of the seats and the one or two seats they had put up candidates, their agents were seen sitting in the booth offices of IPFT. This time too they are not at all vocal against this slogan of division of the state by IPFT and by their silence they are giving support to the separatists.

Severely criticising some recent incidents where a village committee office at Kalyanpur (Khowai district) were attacked, shops belonging to non-tribal petty businessmen were set on fire in Nadiya bazar (Unakoti distruct) by IPFT, SDM office at Chhailengta was attacked by IPFT, Congress and other opposition elements and attempts to ignite communal tension were made in a part of Agartala, Bijan Dhar said that these cannot be accepted at all. They are in no way a method of democratic protest or movement.

The Congress and other opposition parties are resorting to blatant lies and falsehood and running a continuous campaign again Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and leaders of the CPI(M) and Left Front, leveling baseless charges of corruption, Dhar said. They want to equate him with tainted leaders like Mamata Banerjee or Manmohan Singh.

“They have started this campaign of lies since they are unable to face increasing and continuous support of the masses towards the honest and clean image of comrade Manik Sarkar and the pro-people performance of the Left Front government under his leadership. But they don’t utter a word in support of the our continuous demands of including Kok Borok language in the 8th schedule of the Constitution, amending the 6th schedule of the Constitution to give greater autonomy to the ADC including those vested with the three tier panchayats or for a comprehensive economic package from the Centre for the 1.20 lakh families whom we have given patta under the Forest Rights Act,” Dhar said.

This TTAADC election is important for peace, harmony, development, secularism and keeping Tripura united, Dhar emphasised. On behalf of the Left Front, he appealed to the people to give even more support and repeat the results of 2005 and 2010 by ensuring victory of the Left Front candidates in all the 28 seats.