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After Arunachal, Manipur, BJP eyes Tripura; Here’s the northeast game plan

New Delhi: Having managed to oust Congress and other regional parties and form governments in Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, the BJP has now set its sight on CPM-stronghold Tripura.
However, BJP national president Amit Shah, who has often expressed his desire to make inroads into unexplored territories, has a different game plan to capture Tripura – the Left bastion for decades.
In order to set foot into the CPM-ruled state, the Narendra Modi and Amit Shah-powered BJP has decided to weaken other competitors like Trinamool Congress before it actually takes on ruling CPM there.
It is to be noted that assembly elections are due in Tripura in 2018 and the BJP certainly wants to be a kingmaker, in case it fails to form a government on its own in this northeastern state.
The BJP, which acknowledges the Left Front as its main hurdle in Tripura, has slowly started to woo the grassroot workers from Trinamool Congress and other regional parties to persuade them to switch sides before the crucial assembly elections next year.
So, it has not come as a surprise when hundreds of Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders, members and supporters joined the BJP in Tripura in less than 48 hours.
Notable among those who joined the BJP include former chairman of the Tripura unit of Trinamool Congress, Ratan Chakraborty, the president of Tripura unit of BJP, Biplab Deb and Union Minister of State for Railways, Rajen Gohain, jointly handed over the saffron party flag to Chakraborty and his supporters.
The development is also reminiscent of how the Mamata Didi-led TMC poached Congress leaders almost a year ago in a bid to do a West Bengal by uprooting the Marxists.
Mamata Banerjee-led TMC had actually set its eyes on Congress in Tripura even before the BJP set out to make the Northeast comprising eight states Congress-free.
In June last year, just as the BJP ended 15 years of Congress rule in Assam, the TMC lured away six of the 10 Congress MLAs in Tripura.
All this marked the culmination of TMC’s 17 years of penetration in the Congress that began with former chief minister Sudhir Ranjan Majumder in 1999. Majumder died 10 years later.
However, Trinamool has not met much success in Tripura as compared to the BJP which has expanded its footprint from Assam to Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, owing to a leadership tussle.
As part of BJP’s northeast game plan, the TMC had lost hundreds of leaders and workers to the saffron brigade this month.
In another setback to the Mamata Didi’s party, Surajit Dutta and Ratan Chakraborty – ministers in Majumder’s Congress government from 1988-1993 – donned saffron within 14 days of each other.
Dutta and Chakraborty were among a handful of leaders who helped the TMC grow in Tripura.
Dutta went on to be the TMC’s state unit president while Chakraborty became the chairman of the party’s coordination committee.
“Tripura will see a BJP tsunami in 2018 just as people in Uttar Pradesh did,” MoS Rajen Gohain said.
Besides Tripura, assembly elections are also due in two other states – Meghalaya and Nagaland – in 2018.

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