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After crushing CPI-M in Tripura, BJP eyes the state's Lok Sabha seats

Agartala, April 8 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party, after its earth-shattering victory over the Left Front in the recent assembly polls in Tripura, has renewed attempts to wrest the state's two Lok Sabha seats from the CPI-M in the 2019 general elections.

BJP General Secretary (organisation) in-charge of northeastern states Ajay Jamwal, during his four-day tour to Tripura this week, held a series of meetings with leaders and asked the cadre to gear up for Lok Sabha polls.

State Vice President Subal Bhowmik told IANS: "The party organisation would be further revamped to win the two Lok Sabha seats in Tripura. (National) General Secretary Ram Madhav would visit Tripura next week to give further boost..."

"The governmental and party organisational works would be further consolidated to win the hearts of more people before the parliamentary elections."

In the February 18 polls, BJP's over 42,000 grassroot level party workers -- called "Pristha Pramukh" or "Panna Pramukh" or "Panna Prabharis" (page observers) -- played a crucial role in the party's performance.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-shaped "Pristha Pramukh", required to focus on roughly 60 voters each, also played a key role in BJP's victory in the Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat assembly elections.

"Tripura has 3,214 polling booths. We would further activate the party's booth level workers and 'Pristha Pramukhs' to expand the party base and to take the governance at the doorsteps of the people," BJP state spokesman Mrinal Kanti Deb told IANS.

"The 'Pristha Pramukh' would facilitate to bring the governmental schemes, scopes, facilities and services to the people."

The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), the dominant partner of the Left Front, has won Tripura's two Lok Sabha seats for the past six consecutive parliamentary polls since 1996.

In 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the CPI-M got 64 per cent votes while the BJP secured 5.7 per cent. However in the assembly polls, the BJP (43 per cent) and its electoral ally Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (7.5 per cent) outscored the Left Front which obtained 45 per cent.

Prominent political analyst and writer Sekhar Datta told IANS that in Indian electoral history, "the CPI-M, which has become the country's dominant Left party, has never been in direct confrontation with the BJP, but in their maiden battle, the saffron party defeated the Left after making all-out efforts".

Giving more details of the party's efforts to cement its influence, Deb said from Monday, each Tripura minister would sit in the state party headquarters here twice a week (Monday and Thursday) to hear the problems of the people and suggestions of the party functionaries.

The state spokesman said within a week after assuming office, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb began holding "Janatar Darbar" in a bid to resolve people's problems on the spot.

"Accompanied by all top officials, including Chief Secretary Sanjeev Ranjan, the Chief Minister on each Friday meets around 150 to 200 people at the civil secretariat and on each Wednesday and Saturday hears the problems of a large number of people at his residence," Deb added.

Last month, BJP President Amit Shah in Guwahati said the BJP, along with its allies, would win at least 21 out of total 25 Lok Sabha seats in the eight northeastern states in 2019 polls as against eight it won in 2014.

(Sujit Chakraborty can be contacted at sujit.c@ians.in)

--IANS

sc/him/vd


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