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