Cook Book on Tripura Elections
After a long time, the politics of India has become very interesting with each passing day. All the elections whether it is for local bodies or by polls, it is being watched very closely by people across the entire landscape of our country. We are evolving into more mature democracy and as more people are participating in the political scenario of the country India is going to become one of the best examples of People oriented democratic experiment and soon it might become a guiding force for entire world in teaching them how a democracy of this scale can be emulated on the ground by reaching even remotest of the last person in the country.
Now coming to Tripura lets us first understand few points on why this state election has become so important
1.It is one of the last bastion of the Communist party – not only In India but for the entire world
2.It has been ruled for a quarter century by Communists and specifically most of the time by Manik Sarkar – The poorest CM of India
3.Never ever India has witnessed such a direct fight between the ideology of Left and Right after transforming itself into a democratic country
4.Massive Unemployment among Youths of the state i.e one of the state with highest degree unemployment but also has the highest literacy among people
5. Implementation of rural infrastructure is very bad even after ruled by Communist for so long
6.Implementation of 7th pay commission for the govt employees – Govt is the main job provider for the entire state. Literally, there is not even 0.1% of any private investment in the state
Last but not least Northeastern states provide us with an opportunity to fulfil the idea of development since the ratio of population is very manageable when compared to any other states.In this sense with a population of fewer than 50 lakhs, the Communist government could have easily converted it into a model state for their development policies. They have missed an opportunity for so long but still was able to maintain their hold on Govt which has made communist workers very complacent and arrogant. This has not been covered by any media houses.
Now let’s see where each part stands and what are all their Big Strengths and Weakness
One of the last bastion for CPI(M).They have ruled for so long that they have never imagined themselves in the opposition.
1. Manik Sarkar- One man who has more personal following than for the ideology of the left,
2.Party Ecosystem- If CPI(M) has to be defeated one has to defeat its ecosystem comprising party workers in booths till all govt departments including election commission.One of the states where Chief election commissioner does not have his own building.He works out of secretariat along with CM
3.Peace in the state- To people who have lived through previous Cong govt in 1988 – 1993 knows the current scenario of how the entire state is living peacefully without any insurgency.
1.Anti Incumbency- Anti incumbency of a quarter century has fallen into the heads of Manik Sarkar.It has increased to such an extent that it became difficult for Chief minister to gather even 5000 people for rallies.So to overcome that CM has changed his style by campaigning in each and every constituency at a very local level involving street meetings carefully avoiding big rallies.
2.Party ecosystem- The same party ecosystem which helped communist party has now become more complacent and arrogant that people started hating them.There is a big undercurrent against the party ecosystem.
3.Lack of leaders: Apart from Manik Sarkar virtually there is not even one leader who can campaign and influence voters.When there is under current against workers it becomes extremely important for the party leadership to involve hands-on for gathering each and every vote.One best example in the recent times we have seen is in Gujarat where there was great undercurrent against BJP workers but with a lot of involvement of senior leaders, they are able to overcome it. Such a kind of leadership is missing from the current CPI(M) political hierarchy.
4.7th pay commission, Rural infrastructure and Recent Supreme court order quashing the appointment of around 10000 school teachers.
These are all the Strength and Weakness for CPI(M).Now let us see about BJP
BJP is the new kid on the block for entire Northeast. It generally gives a big advantage as it has not be tried and also the image of national leadership with PM Modi gives added a bonus to the party
1.Organically Party has grown in the Northeastern states.Within a short span of time they able to cover most of the booths with booth workers and page managers to reach out to voters
2.Robust National and Northeastern leadership: About national leadership, everybody knows it.Nothing more to add to it.But the efficiency of Northeastern leadership including the CMs of NE states(Sarabananda Sonowal,Biren singh,Prema Khandu) and party managers including NEDA Leaders and General secretaries like Himata biswa sarma,Ram madhav,Sunil Deodhar, Kirren Raju is a big strength to the party.
One of the key advantages of NE Leadership is they have grown party organically within less span of time.Party can use them now in other states like West Bengal, Odisha and surely they might change the political situation in each of these states
3.Sangh Parivar family: The groundwork done by RSS and its affiliates like Vanavasi Kalyan is surely a game changer in the states
4.Hope around party which rules Delhi: Usually, NE people like to involve themselves with party in power in centre.They know the value of being in power in Delhi than any other landscape in the country
1.Match with the Communist ecosystem: The main fear of people in Tripura is whether even after losing this battle will BJP leadership stick themselves in Tripura or not.So they don’t want to antagonize the communist party which ruled for over 25 years.
2.Local leadership: BJP has to grow more local leaders in Tripura as most of the leadership has been moved out from either Congress or TMC
3.Tribal party alliance: BJP has boldly made alliance with Tribal parties, so it creates a sense of divide between Bengalis and tribal people.Most of these tribal parties are fighting for separate statehood , so naturally other communities still did not have much hope with BJP.
These are the main strength and weakness of BJP,but the way Sunil deodhar is explaining the strategy which BJP has followed it seems BJP has specifically addressed the weakness above by engaging with each community like using Uttar Pradesh CM to reach out to Nath Mutt followers who are 35% of entire OBC population in the state.So it creates kind of big hope for all the BJP workers.
Now the last big player in the state in Congress.Let’s see its strength and weakness
Congress has got more than 35% of votes in each of the elections till now.So they have assumed the role of opposition as like in Gujrat but without much ambition of capturing power
1.Local leadership: Congress has good leadership with Pradyot Debbarma as its president.Pradyot Debbarma is the grandson of last Tripura king and still, they have a sense of sway over the people of Tripura.
2.Opposition space: Congress has till now been a major player in NE states either in the form being in govt or in opposition.So it has a loyal vote base which they can depend on at any cost.
1.Having an alliance with Left ideology in Centre: People now believe that Congress for its national ambitions intentionally does not want to dislodge Communist in Tripura and to prove that point correct national leaders did not even care about Northeastern states especially Tripura.Rahul Gandhi has addressed only one rally in Tripura for this election.
2.No involvement of National leadership
3.The internal factional fight between Pradyot Debbarma and other state Congress leaders virtually stalled the entire campaign
4.Raising costs of participating in elections: After 2014 Congress was decimated from each and every state because of that Party is unable to get funds so they are not spending it much on smaller states.They want to utilize their full throttle in Karnataka.
5.All the MLAs switched over to BJP which has crippled the local power centres at constituency level
Knowing this weakness fully, BJP leadership has completely decimated the Congress and put itself in the pole position of Tripura.
Apart from these, there are many small tribal parties who fight mainly in 20 Tribal seats.Out of which more powerful party IPFT is in alliance with BJP and is fighting 9 seats as part of NDA.
After analyzing all these points one can clearly say the BJP is the only party which is going to increase its base in Tripura.If BJP wins this election it will be a kind of record of sorts from 0 to gaining power that too against the robust communist system.Then this same strategy can be used in other states where there is good and strong regional players
With respect to Communist, if CPI(M) is able to win in the election then it will increase the stature of Manik Sarkar and we can say for sure it will increase the power of Bengalis against the Malayalis in the Communist national political hierarchy.And the only one person who is responsible for victory will be Manik Sarkar and he will become a legendary figure like Jyoti Basu of West Bengal.
Whatever the result is let us hope the next govt which is going to form on March 3rd fulfil the ambitions of people and gives them hope on the democratic process of our motherland.