AGARTALA, Aug 12 - With a little over six months to go for its scheduled expiry, the 11th Tripura Assembly looks set to be the most eventful in many ways.
The 11th Assembly began with CPI (M) Left Front having 50 members and Congress 10, but, of late, the numbers game kept changing very fast. Six MLAs who were elected as Congress nominees, had joined Trinamool Congress and later all of them merged with BJP.
The six Congress MLAs had opened account in the State Assembly for Trinamool Congress and later they switched over to BJP to allow lotus bloom in the House. Observers feel, BJP’s entry into the State Assembly just ahead of the 2018 Assembly polls could turn out to be a game changer in the State’s political landscape.
BJP’s strength is likely to increase to seven as another Congress legislator Ratan Lal Nath is about to jump to the BJP bandwagon.
Interestingly, the Left has been able to increase its tally amidst the chaotic situation in State politics but the strength of the main opposition Congress has reduced to only three MLAs.
The existing Assembly has so far lost three MLAs – Anil Sarkar, Samir Deb Sarkar and Sudhir Das – all from the ruling CPI(M). Six by-elections were held during the four and half years of CPIM rule and interestingly all were won by the Marxists.
The first by-election took place in Manu Bazar Assembly segment which had become a necessity after Jitendra Chowdhury’s exit from State politics. His brother Prabhat Chowdhury contested the by-election and won the battle of ballot.
For the first time in the Assembly history, a CPI (M) MLA – Manoranjan Acharjee was forced to step down following his alleged involvement in a sexual abuse case. In the subsequent bypoll, Parimal Debnath won the election for the CPI (M).
Ramu Das, a DYFI leader was fielded in Pratapgarh Assembly constituency which fell vacant after demise of veteran Marxist leader and MLA Anil Sarkar and he won the election with a massive mandate.
Barjala Assembly seat also went to by-election after Congress MLA Jiten Sarkar resigned allegedly under duress. In the by-election, CPI (M) candidate Jhumu Sarkar won the seat increasing the party’s tally to 51.
In two more by-elections following death of two CPI (M) MLAs – Sudhir Das (Surma) and Samir Deb Sarkar (Khowai) both seats were won by CPI (M) candidates – Anjan Das and Biswajit Dutta.