By Debraj Deb | February 18, 2018
From universal health insurance to farm loan waiver and smartphone for youths to direct funding for ADC – 2018 Tripura assembly election already is a eye-catcher. Among three Northeastern states that goes to assembly polls this month, Tripura is the curtain raiser for more reasons than one. The state’s poll mandate will decide the fate of resistance to saffron politics, which has been rather feeble so far across India. But then again with 2019 general elections around the corner, it will also impact the way this nation’s politics is going to be, Debraj Deb writes
BJP was nothing but a political non-entity even two years back in Tripura. The party, which despite BJP’s nationwide growth during first NDA government, secured only 1.32 percent votes in 2003 assembly elections here, has emerged as a major challenger to the Left who have ruled consecutively for over two decades.
Communist politics spread influence in Tripura from homegrown anti-monarchy protests championed by ‘enlightened indigenous youths’ in late 1940s. From being a primarily indigenous-centered party, CPI, later CPI (M), went on to form the first Left Front government in alliance with two other left-inclined political parties – the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) and All India Forward Bloc in 1978. Since then the only regime capable to dislodge them was in 1988 when a combine of Congress and Tripura Upajati Juba Samiti (TUJS) – an indigenous party born from autonomy rights movement, took on the communists.