Coalition partners BJP, IPFT to contest Tripura panchayat polls separately

The ruling BJP and its ally IPFT will contest the by-elections for the three-tier panchayat separately, fuelling speculation about fissures within the fledgling coalition, which in March ended the 25-year-long Left rule in the state.

By-elections on 3,207 seats of gram panchayats, 161 panchayat samitis and 18 zilla parishads will take place on September 30.

The seats fell vacant after large-scale resignations by elected public representatives since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) government came to power on March 9.

Chairman of the Panchayat election committee of BJP and minister for Education Ratan Lal Nath said that the party wanted wanted "to check its strength alone."

"We have spoken with IPFT on this. BJP wants to check its strength alone," Nath said as he revealed the list of 3,155 candidates for the polls.

Nath said 2,980 candidates would contest on gram panchayats seats, 157 on panchayat samiti seats and 18 on zilla parishad seats.

The candidates for the other seats would be declared later, he added.

Meanwhile, both the BJP and the IPFT have started filing of nominations from Friday.

IPFT general secretary Mangal Debbarma too announced that his party was contesting the bypolls alone and will field candidates against the BJP.

In fact there was no discussion between BJP and IPFT on seat sharing. Before announcing the candidates list Nath just talked to our President NC Debbarma yesterday, Debbarma said.

So, we are contesting the by-elections separately and will field candidates against each other, he added.

Ever since the coalition was formed in March last year, unease was visible among the two partners who have often taken opposing stands on various issues.

The two parties had earlier announced that they will be contesting the 2019 Lok Sabha elections separately as well. Tripura has two Lok Sabha seats.

BJP spokesperson Mrinal Kanti Deb clarified that the BJPs alliance with IPFT was for the assembly elections only.

The purpose was to form the government in Tripura. Lok Sabha election is a different issue, Deb said.

Meanwhile, opposition Congress said it would contest on all seats of the three-tier panchayat while the CPI (M) too declared that it would try to contest on as many seats as possible.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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