It has always been a tall order to challenge Manik Sarkar on his home turf of Tripura. The 69 year old communist has been Chief Minister of Tripura from 11th march 1998. Arguably, the only ‘poor’ chief minister in India has now been taunted for scam by none other than the Prime Minister of India.
Addressing an election rally at Sonamura, PM Modi compared Mani Sarkar to magician P.C. Sarkar, who is an expert in concealing facts. In his volly of charges against the five time chief minister, Modi accused Sarkar of sleeping through the Rose Valley chit fund scam in which more than 1.4 million people, “half of Tripura’s population, lost their hard earned money”. In his tirade against the communist government, PM also accused Sarkar of fostering unemployment and shunning growth.
Who earned money in the Rose Valley Scam? How did the Left government in Tripura allow the money of the poor to be looted. pic.twitter.com/zvkpjxuvrV
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 8, 2018
While the PM blamed the CPI(m) for everything that can be wrong in the state, his alterantive is basically the repackage of mostly disgruntled Congress leaders, along with a weak coalition the indigenous parties. With no leadership worth his name in the state unit, as in Gujarat and in UP, once again the PM is expected to put up BJP’s fight in the election for state government.
The BJP has made once again made Himanta Biswasarma the election in-charge for a North Eatern state. But unlike BJPs merger and acquisition of Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, Tripura may not be a cakewalk. Reds are deeply entrenched into every village and locality. Sarkar is respected like an elder and there is no Didi in the state who has spent decades building a support system to take out the CPI(m) cadres. Unlike other part of India, BJP has neither the misgovernanace nor strong corruption charges against the siting government. While congress may be down it will still cust substantial number of anti-incumbency votes of BJP.
On the other side, for Sarkar also this is the biggest challenge he has ever faced. There is no doubt that Modi can swing voters and Amit Shah can get the poll equations right. The due have quite a few election scalps to their credit. This is one election where both Modi and Sarkar seem to have met their match, still its Modi who looks Goliath in this fight.