‘Peo­ple in Tripura are tired of Left govt... they want change’

BJP Tripura in­charge

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - Nation - Sm­riti Kak Ra­machan­dran let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Shortly af­ter the BJP won the 2014 gen­eral elec­tions with an over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity, Su­nil Deodhar, a Ras­triya Swayam Se­vak pracharak who was the in-charge of Varanasi, the con­stituency in Ut­tar Pradesh that elected Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi, found him­self in a new role in Tripura.

As the state-charge of the party in the com­mu­nist bas­tion, Deodhar has since been pre­par­ing for the as­sem­bly poll that will take place on Sun­day. In a phone in­ter­view from Agartala, Deodhar talked of the emer­gence of the BJP as the main op­po­nent to the CPM that has ruled the state for over two decades. Ex­cerpts

How well equipped is the BJP to take on the CPM in its bas­tion?

The CPM is bat­tling anti-in­cum­bency. Peo­ple in the state want a change and this sen­ti­ment has been more vis­i­ble on the ground for the past one and a half years. They want de­vel­op­ment and growth; look at the large num­ber of peo­ple who turned up for Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s two ral­lies in the state. (A third rally will be held on Fe­bru­ary 15).

From PM Modi to party pres­i­dent Amit Shah and a host of se­nior lead­ers, the party seems to have pulled out all the stops for cam­paign­ing.

The three ral­lies that were sched­uled for the PM were done in such a way that the elec­torate across the state gets a chance to hear him. Crowds trav­elled and walked for kilo­me­ters to hear him speak, such is the craze for Modi. We also had (UP CM) Yogi Adityanath ad­dress a rally, be­cause he a large fol­low­ing in the state (in the Nath sect) and has been vis­it­ing (the state) since the time he set up the Gorkhnath temple here.

Your al­liance part­ner IPFT (Indige­nous Peo­ple’s Front of Tripura) wants Tipra­land, a sep­a­rate State for indige­nous peo­ple, a de­mand the BJP dis­agrees with. The de­mand for a sep­a­rate state is some­thing we do not sup­port, although we have as­sured the youth and the tribal groups that the party is aware of their prob­lems and will do what­ever we can do solve those.

Dur­ing my in­ter­ac­tion with var­i­ous tribal groups, a re­cur­ring com­plaint was of not be­ing heard. There was feel­ing that no one in the state or at the Cen­tre is pay­ing heed to them. We changed that. Af­ter the party’s in­ter­ven­tion we got the Union home min­istry to set up a mod­er­a­tor com­mit­tee that will ex­am­ine the is­sues raised by them and find so­lu­tions.

With the IPFT we will con­test the elec­tion on the ba­sis of a com­mon dec­la­ra­tion and fight our com­mon op­po­nent, the CPM.

Why do you think peo­ple in Tripura will vote for the BJP?

The govern­ment has failed peo­ple on all fronts, whether it is jobs or de­vel­op­ment. Un­less and un­til peo­ple join their party (CPM), the govern­ment does not get any work done, whether it is re­leas­ing money un­der MNREGA or pro­vid­ing med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties or even reg­is­ter­ing an FIR at the po­lice sta­tions.

And if you work for any other party, then the CPM goons un­leash vi­o­lence.

Peo­ple in the state are tired of this govern­ment un­der whose watch the num­ber of un­em­ployed peo­ple has gone up from 85,000 to 7.5 lakh. (These are reg­is­tered with the em­ploy­ment ex­change.)

In CM Manik Sarkar’s ten­ure there has been a to­tal col­lapse of sys­tems; take for ex­am­ple the teacher re­cruit­ment. For years no ap­point­ments were made, and even­tu­ally what was done was a scam. Sim­i­larly, in the Rose Val­ley chit fund scam, no ac­tion was taken even though lakhs of peo­ple lost their money. While (govern­ment) em­ploy­ees across the coun­try get ben­e­fits of the 7th pay com­mis­sion, here it has not been im­ple­mented.

While PM Modi talks of ga­reeb kalian (wel­fare of the poor), Manik Sarkar’s phi­los­o­phy is to keep the peo­ple poor and there­fore, de­pen­dent on the party. Peo­ple in the state fi­nally have an al­ter­na­tive.

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