A loyalist of Trinamool Congress leader Mukul Roy, Sudip Roy Barman had joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Tripura when Roy had switched camps in Bengal. Now, that Roy is back to his old party, speculations are rife over a possible exit of Barman, who has been at loggerheads with Chief Minister Biplab Deb, from the ruling camp and could see a flight of several legislators from the BJP in the hill state.
Barman, considered an influential political figure in Tripura, had been unhappy with the BJP for choosing Deb over him for coveted CM’s post, despite his contribution in ending the years-long CPI-M rule in the state. He was the leader of Opposition while in the Congress and had been with the Trinamool Congress for about a year before joining the BJP.
Sources said Barman might try to return to the Trinamool Congress, but if Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee does not approve of the same, he might float his own outfit and field candidates in upcoming local elections. He has already formed an organisation named ‘Bondhur Naam Sudip’ that can start opposing the BJP’s moves in the states. This would also help keep the Trinamool Congress’ door open for him, besides drawing up an alliance pre- or post-polls. Another tie-up that the ruling party could explore in Tripura is with Pradyot Manikya Debbarma, the head of the erstwhile royal family. His party ‘TRIPRA’ has managed to corner the BJP in the recent local elections.
Rift in Congress-Left Alliance
Meanwhile, in Bengal, a new rift has surfaced within the Congress-Left Front alliance over a Facebook post of CPI(M)’s Rajya Sabha MP Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya. Writing about the Sain family murders, known as ‘Sainbari incident’, in Burdwan district in 1970, Bhattacharya used the term ‘Congressi goonda’. The state Congress committee has written to Bengal CPI(M) secretary Suryakanta Mishra stating that the MP’s post directly harms the reputation of the grand old party. “It has come to our notice that Sri Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, MP, Rajya Sabha, has recently made a social-media post which contains mala fide phrases and heinous statements which directly harm the integrity and reputation of Indian National Congress…” Discomfort over the alliance has only been growing over the past few months as the Left Front parties and Congress suffered a historic humiliated by failing to win even a single seat in the recently held Assembly elections.
A few days ago, Forward Bloc leader Narendra Chatterjee had hit out at the CPI(M) for this allying with the Congress for the polls. Earlier too, several leaders have spoken out against the deal in the state committee meeting. The CPI(M), which is the biggest force in the Left Front, has been in alliance with the Congress since the 2016 Assembly elections in Bengal. However, it has never resulted in any positive outcome. With a zero tally of seats, several questions are being raised about the alliance within the front that had ruled the state for 34 years. Mishra has so far said his party is not keen on breaking the tie-up.