Congress releases its list of 17 candidates for Tripura elections. Hinting that not all creases in its alliance with the Left Front have been ironed out yet, the Congress on Saturday released a list of 17 candidates for the coming Tripura elections. This is four more than the seats left by the Left Front, which announced candidates for 47 seats of the total 60 in the state three days ago.
Long-time bitter rivals, the Left Front and Congress just days ago stitched together a ‘Secular Democratic Forces’ Front to keep out the ruling BJP. Five constituencies — Barjala, Majlishpur, Badharghat, Radhakishorepur and Pabiacherra – now figure in both the Left Front and Congress lists. Additionally, the Congress has not announced a candidate for Pecharthal, which was allotted to it in the Left list.
In 2018, the Congress had contested 56 seats, and won none. Its sole sitting MLA is Sudip Roy Barman, who won in a bypoll last year after returning to the Congress from the BJP. The Congress has retained only two names from that list of 56 in 2018, including its state chief Birajit Sinha and former state chief and ex-MLA Gopal Chandra Roy.
The Congress has fielded Roy Barman again from Agartala, his seat that he retained in the bypoll last year. Ashish Kumar Saha, who has also returned to the Congress, will contest again from Town Bardowali, which he contested and won last time as a BJP candidate. A three-time winner from Town Bardowali, Saha faces incumbent Chief Minister Manik Saha this time from the seat.
While announcing the Left Front candidates, convener Narayan Kar said the list had been discussed with senior Congress leaders. The CPI(M) said the Congress had sought more seats, but eventually the Left candidate list was prepared after discussion with them.
The Congress list was earlier expected on January 25, but after the Left declared its names, the party had been silent on both the seat-sharing formula and its names. On Saturday, the Congress Central Election Committee released the names in Delhi, soon after the BJP had done so, with just two days to go for the nomination deadline to end.