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BJP’s replacement of Tripura CM with eye on 2023 polls

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After Uttarakhand, Gujarat and Karnataka, the BJP has changed its Chief Minister in Tripura, months ahead of the Assembly polls in the Northeastern state, with a view on electoral calculations and gains.

The election to the 60-member Tripura Assembly is due in January-February 2023.

Though the script was written in Delhi, the real drama was played in Agartala to overcome the anti-incumbency factor at least eight to nine months ahead of the crucial Assembly polls, which is expected to be multi-cornered between the CPI-M, the Congress, new entrant Trinamool Congress (TMC), besides the ruling BJP.

A year after the BJP-Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) government assumed charge on March 9, 2018, ending the 25-year rule of the Left Front, Tripura has witnessed waves of revolt by dissident BJP MLAs led by Sudip Roy Barman against Biplab Kumar Deb, who also subsequently announced to obtain a people’s mandate by calling a public meeting.

His move was later cancelled following the intervention of the Central BJP leadership.

Amid open resentment by a section of the ruling BJP MLAs and leaders in Tripura, the Cabinet expansion took place on August 31, 2021, by inducting three ministers even as the dissident MLAs and BJP leaders boycotted that swearing-in-ceremony.

The dissidence in May 2019 was sparked off after the State Health and Family Welfare and the Information Technology Minister Roy Barman was sacked following differences with Deb.

Sudip Roy Barman, six other MLAs and many leaders had quit the Congress in 2016 to join the TMC and next year (2017) they joined the BJP and helped it win the Assembly elections in 2018.

However, then, Sudip Roy Barman and Ashis Kumar Saha, who resigned from the state Assembly and the BJP on February 7, 2022, rejoined the Congress in New Delhi on February 8.

Earlier, BJP MLA Ashish Das, after openly criticising the saffron party and its leadership, including Deb, joined the TMC on October 31, 2021, following which he was disqualified from the state Assembly.

Following the tumult, several senior Central BJP leaders on a number of occasions visited Tripura to quell the internal dispute and plug the shortcomings, both in the government and the party organisation.

Political Commentator and Editor of Tripura’s leading English daily “North East Colors”, Sanjib Deb said that it is clear and loud that though removed from the post of Chief Minister, Biplab Kumar Deb is not going to be dumped, rather the steering is going to remain with him.

“After submitting the resignation, Deb told the media that he is going to remain with the party organisation. What is most important is that in the meeting of the BJP Legislature Party on Saturday, Biplab Kumar Deb had proposed the name of Manik Saha while the Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma seconded it,” he said.

He said when Biplab Kumar Deb became the Chief Minister, there were talks in Tripura that the government is the BJP’s, Council of Ministers are from Congress (as most Ministers are from the party) and administration is of the CPI-M (as the officials were recruited during the 25 years of Left Front government).

Political analyst and writer Sekhar Datta said the change of Chief Ministership in Tripura was long overdue.

“BJP has taken the decision to avoid the anti-incumbency issues eight to nine months before the crucial Assembly elections. The BJP retained power in Assam (2021) and Manipur (2022) in the Assembly polls. So retaining power in Tripura in the 2023 polls is a vital issue for the saffron party to keep its aim ‘Congress Mukt Northeast region’.”

Local print and electronic media mostly welcomed the BJP’s decision and criticised Deb’s style of functioning.

Editor of Tripura’s leading vernacular daily ‘Syandan Patrika’, Subal Kumar Dey said he had written in April 2020 about “Deb’s autocratic governance”.

“Only due to Deb’s dictatorial style of work and undemocratic mindset, three BJP MLAs were forced to leave the party weakening the organisation and the government,” Dey.

BJP sources said Biplab Kumar Deb will be Tripura BJP President as the incumbent Manik Saha had to quit the post on becoming the Chief Minister.

RSS loyalist Deb became the state BJP President in January 2016, a year after he returned to the state after spending many years outside it.

Crime

Angry mob attack Udaipur murder accused outside court; hurls slippers, bottles

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 An angry mob attacked the two main accused in the Udaipur tailor murder case outside the premises of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) court here on Saturday.

The accused were thrashed by the mob as well as lawyears who were waiting outside the court premises when the accused were being escorted by the police.

A heavy police force was deployed outside the NIA court where a large group of people gathered and raised slogans when the accused were being brought out of the court.

Earlier, the NIA court sent all the four accused, including prime accused Mohammad Riyaz and Ghouse Mohammad, to 10-day NIA remand till July 12.

A few lawyers inside the courtroom premises also demanded death punishment for the accused. When the two prime accused were escorted outside the court by the police, an infuriated crowd attacked them with bottles and slippers.

On June 28, a tailor named Kanhaiya Lal was beheaded in broad daylight inside his tailoring shop on a crowded lane in Udaipur for allegedly supporting suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma over her controversial remarks on Prophet Muhammed.

The prime accused — Mohammad Riyaz and Ghouse Mohammad — even filmed act and uploaded it on social media.

While Riyaz and Ghouse Mohammad were arrested that day itself, two more persons, identified as Mohsin and Asif, were arrested on Thursday in connection with Kanhaiya Lal’s murder.

The NIA is probing the matter with support from the Anti-Terrorist Squad and Special Operations Group (SOG) of the Rajasthan Police.

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National News

‘Don’t buy from Muslim vendors’ notice surfaces in Guj village

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An alleged gram panchayat notification bearing the name of the Sarpanch directing shopkeepers and residents not to buy anything from Muslim vendors is doing the rounds at a village in Gujarat’s Banaskantha district.

The notification says if anyone is seen buying goods from Muslim vendors, he or she would be fined Rs 5,100, and the fine amount would be used for ‘Gaushalas’.

The letter dated June 30 mentions that the rule has been introduced in the aftermath of the grusome killing of a tailor in Udaipur on June 18.

The letter has a stamp on it along with the Sarpanch’s ‘signature’. Five members have signed the letter including, one name written in Gujarati, Patel Jethabhai.

When the Sarpanch, Patel Mafiben Virabhai, was contacted, her husband Virabhai Patel received the call and told IANS: “My wife is not a Sarpanch anymore since last November.

“I am also a member of the village administration… none of us wrote that letter. We are trying to find out who has written it, signed and put a stamp. There is no one called Patel Jethabhai in our village. Someone is trying to spoil our image.”

Reacting to the notification, Congress MLA Gulabsinh Rajput from Tharad constituency in Banaskantha told IANS: “India is a democratic country and no one can issue such a ‘farman’. This is misuse of power and designation.”

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National News

AAP alleges govt may charge for borewells in housing society in Gujarat

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 With Gujarat Assembly polls approaching, the Aam Aadmi Party on Saturday scaled up its attack on the ruling BJP in the state. The party said the BJP has failed to provide the basic necessity like water to the people and will charge Rs 10,000 for digging a bore well for housing society.

AAP’s Gujarat vice president Sagar Rabari said, “The Central Water Authority has made an announcement that people who take water from boreholes and tube wells in Housing Society have to pay Rs 10,000 for registration.”

He said further, “The Gujarat Water Supply and Sewerage Act enacted in 2013 was for villages and agriculture only. According to this, farmers had to register their boreholes, wells and tube wells and get license to build new ones. But as per the new announcement of the Central Water Authority, if the society wants to build a new borewell or tubewell, it will have to get a license.”

“Providing water to residential houses, villages is the responsibility of the municipality, municipal corporation and the government. But the BJP government has failed to provide this. It has not been able to provide water in many residential areas. By drawing water, societies pay electricity bills at their own expense. This is putting an extra burden on them. Not only will Rs 10,000 have to be paid, how much water is extracted from underground will also be metered. They will also have to pay the bill in proportion to the water extracted. If anybody violates the terms, his license will be revoked.”

Sagar Rabari said, “It is clear that voting for the BJP means voting for slavery. All this paints a clear picture of the next election. I appeal to the people of Gujarat to understand the advantages and disadvantages of this rule and vote accordingly.”

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