Agartala: With assembly polls in Left-ruled Tripura less than two weeks away, the high-pitch campaigning is set to gain further momentum as top leaders are scheduled to come to canvass for their parties.
Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Tripura unit spokesman Mrinal Kanti Deb said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address two election rallies in northern and western Tripura on Thursday while Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, several other Union Ministers and top BJP leaders including party president Amit Shah will also campaign.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Information and Broadcasting and Textile Minister Smriti Irani, the chief ministers of party-ruled Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Uttar Pradesh, and Jharkhand, BJP's National General Secretary Ram Madhav, and Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who is BJP's election in-charge for Tripura, have also campaigned or will soon do so.
On the other hand, the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) will seen its General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, politburo members Prakash Karat, Brinda Karat, Biman Bose, Subhashini Ali, and West Bengal State Secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra already addressing many election rallies across the northeastern border state.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi, Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia, party's Rajasthan unit chief Sachin Pilot will be among other leaders who will start campaigning in the state from Wednesday.
Congress' state unit vice-president Tapas Dey said that their election manifesto will be released within a week, while BJP spokesman Deb said that Jaitley will release the BJP's "Vision Document" for Tripura in Agartala on 12 February.
The CPM-led Left Front already released their election manifesto on 30 January.
Meanwhile, CPM State Secretary Bjjan Dhar claimed that while poll panel officials were demonstrating the functioning of EVMs and VVPATs in Ampi constituency in southern Tripura, a button pressed against a particular symbol showed another symbol getting the vote.
"We have informed chief electoral officer Sriram Taranikanti and he assured us to take remedial steps in this regard. The CEO also told us that the EVMs and VVPATs would be demonstrated in front of political party leaders soon," he told the media.
In the 60-member house, the CPM has fielded 57 candidates leaving one seat each to its Left Front partners Communist Party of India, Forward Bloc and Revolutionary Socialist Party.
The BJP is contesting from 51 seats, leaving nine seats for its electoral ally, the Indigenous People's Front of Tripura, which has been agitating for a separate state containing Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council.
Congress has nominated candidates in all 60 constituencies. However, one of their official nominee (Sukumar Chandra Das) in Kakraban-Shalgarha seat (reserved) on Saturday night joined the BJP after withdrawing his candidature.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress has nominated 24 candidates.
Elections would be held on 18 February and counting of votes would take place on 3 March.
Updated Date: Feb 06, 2018 19:25 PM