CPI(M) politburo member Manik Sarkar on Wednesday hit out at the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Tripura ahead of the panchayat bypolls, saying it was "slaughtering democracy" in the state and the people in its rural areas were suffering from a food crisis.
The former Tripura chief minister accused the saffron party of trying to choke the voice of the Opposition and not allowing it to work democratically.
"The BJP is just slaughtering democracy in the state. Individual rights, civil liberties and human rights are persecuted under the BJP rule," Sarkar told a press conference at the CPI(M) state committee office here.
He alleged that there were no employment opportunities in the villages and the rural people were suffering from a severe food crisis. Many of them had to cross the international border and go to Bangladesh to collect forest products and sell them for a living, he claimed.
"The new (BJP) government has to make its position clear on the issue," Sarkar said.
He alleged that the BJP had grabbed power in Tripura by hatching conspiracies and added that the people of the state were gradually understanding it.
"I am sure the common people will not remain silent for long," Sarkar said.
On the series of clashes between the BJP and other political parties on Tuesday, the last date for filing nominations for the three-tier rural bypolls in the state, he claimed that elected public representatives were forced to resign from their positions.
Over 50 per cent of seats in the three-tier panchayat bodies fell vacant within five months of the BJP-led government coming to power.
"The bypoll was announced but the opposition parties were barred from submitting nomination papers. Those who collected the nomination forms were attacked and their houses ransacked," Sarkar said.
Of the 6,111 seats in the gram panchayat bodies across the 58 blocks of Tripura, 3,207 fell vacant due to mass resignations.
Sarkar claimed that 3,148 of these seats were vacated due to forced resignation. The case was similar in 161 of the 168 vacant panchayat samiti seats and 16 of the 18 vacant zilla parishad seats, he claimed.
Earlier in the day, state CPI(M) spokesperson Goutam Das alleged that the supporters of the Left party were attacked and not allowed to file nominations for the panchayat bypolls.
The Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT), an ally of the BJP, also alleged that its activists and supporters were attacked over filing of nominations in different parts of the state and demanded rescheduling of the bypoll.
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