In the last leg of campaigning for a fiercely contested election between the CPI(M) and the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be arriving here on Thursday to address two election rallies.
“Looking forward to campaigning in Tripura today. I would be addressing rallies in Santirbazar and Agartala,” Mr Modi wrote in a tweet.
Electioneering has picked up in the state as the last day of campaign approaches fast. The CPI-M led Left Front is in power since 1978 barring a five-year period between 1988-93 when Congress-led coalition came into power.
The CPI-M bounced back to power in 1993 and the incumbent Chief Minister Manik Sarkar is in office since 1998.
The electoral battle in Tripura this year is actually seen as the first direct electoral contest between the communists and the BJP.
The high-profile election campaign to the 60-member Tripura assembly comes to an end on Friday, February 16, and the northeastern state will be going to the polls on February 18.
Mr Modi will be arriving into the poll-bound Tripura within a week after he addressed two rallies one at Sonamura and the other at Kailashahar in Unakoti district on February 8.
The Prime Minister Modi’s mega rallies – for the second time in a week – come amid reports and various surveys predicting that the BJP has seen phenomenal growth in last two years. The
BJP vote share in 2013 assembly polls was near negligible at 1.57 per cent and in 2014 parliamentary polls had hardly risen to 5.7 per cent. However, the saffron party strategists now claim that they have enhanced the party base and can even give a befitting fight to the CPI (M).
In his almost identical speeches at Sonamura in South Tripura and in Kailashahar in Unakoti district on last Thursday, February 8, Mr Modi had sought ouster of Manik Sarkar as the Chief Minister.
“Ab aap Manik se mukti le lo…..aap ko chahiye Hira…..(Some people wear rings of particular gemstones for improving luck and life. But if you wear a wrong (Manik) gemstone then it causes trouble. Now time to take it off and get a new HIRA – diamond- H-Highway, I=I ways R=Roads A=Airways”, Mr Modi has said.
A few CPI-M leaders are admitting in private that due to 25-year-long undisturbed Left rule in the state, the BJP’s slogan ‘Chalo Paltai (Come, Let us Change)’ is showing some impact and can reflect anti incumbency mood against the CPI-M led regime.
Along with February 18 elections in Tripura, two other northeastern states Nagaland and Meghalaya also would go the polls on February 27. The counting of votes will be taken up simultaneously on March 3.