Uncertainty dogs Congress

Agartala, Jan. 23: Infighting and dissidence continue to ravage Tripura Congress, which is yet to finalise its revised list of candidates for the Assembly polls.

The situation took a turn for the worse yesterday when PCC president Sudip Roy Barman allegedly summoned Gauri Shankar Roy, the nominee for Teliamura Assembly constituency in Khowai district, to Congress Bhawan here and made him sign a declaration that he would not be contesting the polls.

Roy had already started campaigning and had even printed promotional material.

Former MLA and PCC spokesperson Tapas De said, "This is unprecedented in the history of the Congress's elections in Tripura and the Teliamura Assembly constituency. It will now be a walkover for the CPM." He said Roy was a strong candidate because of his clean image and right caste, as he belongs to the backward Kopali community that wields considerable influence in the constituency.

PCC sources said Barman's move was aimed at accommodating his follower and state Youth Congress president Sushanta Chowdhury in Teliamura.

Sushanta had first sought nomination from Agartala (No. 6) constituency to facilitate the PCC president's planned shift to neighbouring Banamalipur (No. 9) constituency by unseating sitting MLA Gopal Roy but this did not work.

Subsequently, he was tipped for the Matabari Assembly constituency in Gomati district but a contractor, Biplab Ghosh, had already paid his way into the nomination list, forcing his shift to Teliamura.

Again, the January 5 attack on senior advocate Arun Kanti Bhowmik, whose name had figured in the primary nomination list in Kamala Sagar Assembly constituency in Bishalgarh subdivision, by supporters of the PCC president and his rival, Motilal Saha, had started a fiasco that refuses to end.

The Congress central election committee had subsequently dropped Bhowmik and nominated Intuc president Dipak Roy. But shortly after his nomination, Roy had to undergo a bypass surgery and is no longer fit to contest the polls.

Tapash De said Roy was apparently nominated to appease him as otherwise he might have created problems for the PCC president in the Agartala (No. 6) constituency.

The PCC president subsequently put forward the name of Ratan Chakraborty, who, however, turned the offer down, saying he had no say in Kamala Sagar politics and would only end up making himself and the party a laughing stock.

Some quarters blamed the AICC, especially general secretary Luizinho Falerio, for the present state of affairs in the Congress here. "Nomination submission started on January 21 and we still don't know who our candidates are. What can be more shameful for a party?" B.K. Sur, a dissident member of the PCC executive body, asked. "Falerio has not visited the state even once. The AICC seems to be clueless and seems to have written off Congress in Tripura. The consequences will be disastrous."

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