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Hectic preparations ahead of by-polls in Tripura

Agartala, May 26
A day after the Election Commission announced by-elections for four Assembly seats in Tripura on June 23, all political parties started the process to select candidates and to finalise their electoral strategies.

According to political pundits, the by-elections in Agartala, Town Bordowali, Surma, and Jubarajnagar assembly constituencies are expected to be a multi-cornered contest between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), opposition CPI-M-led Left parties, Congress, and the Trinamool Congress. Few other smaller parties are also likely to contest the elections.

The BJP, CPI-M, Trinamool Congress, and the Congress leaders separately on Thursday said that they will announce their candidates by May 30, when the statutory notifications will be issued by the Election Commission (EC), and the process of filing nominations will start.

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) state secretary Jitendra Chaudhury, Trinamool's Tripura state President Subal Bhowmik, BJP spokesman Nabendu Bhattacharjee have separately told IANS that they would not forge any alliance with any other party in the by-elections.

The by-polls were necessitated after the resignation of three BJP MLAs, and the death of CPI-M legislator Ramendra Chandra Debnath.

Amid open resentment by a section of BJP legislators, three MLAs, Sudip Roy Barman (Agartala), Ashis Kumar Saha (Town Bordowali), Ashis Das (Surma) quit the BJP and the assembly membership following differences with former Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, who also resigned on May 14 following the instructions of the party's Central leadership, the exact reason for which is yet to disclosed.

Roy Barman, also a former BJP minister, and Saha joined the Congress in February this year while Das joined Trinamool Congress last year.

Elected from the Jubarajnagar assembly constituency six times, Debnath was Tripura assembly speaker multiple times. He passed away on February 2 in Kolkata due to kidney failure.

Tripura Chief Minister Manik Saha, who assumed office on May 15, a day after Deb's resignation, is expected to contest from Town Bordowali constituency on a BJP ticket as he is not a member of the state assembly.

According to the EC's schedule announced on Wednesday, the statutory notification would be issued on May 30 and the last date of filling of nomination is June 6.

The scrutiny of nominees will be done next day. The last date of withdrawal of nomination is June 9. The votes will be counted on June 26.