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Tripura Polls More About Anti-Manik Sarkar Wave Than Modi Wave, Says BJP State In-charge

BJP's state-in-charge Sunil Deodhar alleged that under Manik Sarkar's rule, the poor in Tripura have become poorer and said that around 67 per cent of Tripura's population holds BPL cards.

Sougata Mukhopadhyay | CNN-News18

Updated:March 3, 2018, 7:56 AM IST
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Tripura Polls More About Anti-Manik Sarkar Wave Than Modi Wave, Says BJP State In-charge
Sunil Deodhar, BJP's state in-charge of Tripura. (Photo: News18)
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Agartala: The Assembly elections in Tripura are more about removing someone from power than bringing somebody to power, feels BJP's state in-charge Sunil Deodhar.

The 52-year old RSS pracharak-turned-BJP poll strategist, who served as Prime Minister Narendra Modi's campaign manager in Varanasi during the 2014 general elections, had shifted base to Tripura three years ago to build BJP's campaign against the ruling Left Front government.

He has radically transformed the party's electoral fortunes from its virtual non-existence to emerging as the foremost challenger to the state's Manik Sarkar-led government. The counting of votes for the elections held on February 18 will take place on Saturday.

"It is a fact that we are riding on a strong anti-CPI (M) wave rather than a pro-BJP wave. It's more of a 'CP(M) hatao sentiment than a Modi lao one. And it's because of an incompetent chief minister, his misrule and bad governance," Deodhar said.

The BJP's state-in-charge alleged that under Manik Sarkar's rule, the poor in Tripura have become poorer and said that around 67 per cent of Tripura's population holds BPL cards.

"On top of it the ministers are steeped in financial scams. And this Dhritarashtra prefers to keep his eyes closed and is only bothered about his chair. More than 12 lakh people have been looted by chit fund companies in Tripura and the state government is involved in it. That's why people want to remove this government from power," Deodhar said during an exclusive interview to News18.

Justifying why the BJP has not officially announced a chief ministerial candidate in these polls, Deodhar said, "It wasn't required. The people are not interested in a prospective chief minister face. It is like when there was an Indira hatao wave in the country, people weren't too bothered about kisko lao. Once we come to power, the Parliamentary board and the elected MLAs will choose their leader."

Although the BJP has not formally named its CM face, for all practical purposes it has projected the party's state president Biplab Kumar Deb as the one to take up the top job if it manages to defeat the Left. Deb is contesting the elections from the Banamalipur seat in Agartala where he is taking on CPI(M) state committee leader Amal Chakraborty.

When questioned about BJP's poll prospects, Deodhar said: "Now, at the final stages, the fight is neck to neck between us and the CPI(M). The collision will be head-on. But I am confident of victory".

"At least 10 per cent voters are likely cast their votes in favour of the BJP on the day of the polls. They are scared to attend BJP meetings as they fear they might be attacked by CP(M) supporters and their NREGA work would disappear while government employees fear that they might get transferred and their homes could be set on fire. They say that we will do whatever needs to be done at the EVM machine. I am sure that if that swing happens on the day of polls, then we will sweep the state," he added.

When asked if was his RSS background that helped him take on the might of the CPI(M), which thrives on its manpower at the grassroots, the former pracharak, it is true that he has so far only fought elections against cadre-less parties and this is the first time he is taking on a party which has a very strong cadre base.

"When people ask me how difficult it was for us, I tell them that instead of asking me that question you should go and ask the CPM that they too have never been pitted against a cadre-based organization like us. Kindly ask them, aapko kaisa lag raha hai (how do you feel)."

Deodhar has been developing RSS ideology in the Khasi and Jayntiya hills since 1991 when he left home. But he prefers his present disposition of a BJP leader over his previous avatar of a RSS pracharak. "Amit Shah had entrusted me with the job of ensuring a Communist-mukt Bharat. No matter what the results are, I think I have delivered," he said.
| Edited by: Bijaya Das
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