At least 22 candidates, including Tripura Chief Minister Manik Saha, are in the fray for the upcoming by-elections to four assembly constituencies in the state, an EC official said on Friday. Saha, a Rajya Sabha member, was appointed the state’s chief minister last month, replacing Biplab Kumar Deb. The bypolls to the four assembly segments – Agartala, Town Bardowali, Surma and Jubarajnagar – will be held on June 23. We have received 24 nomination papers for the by-elections. Nomination of Neel Kamal Saha was rejected during the scrutiny, while Rekha Sabar, an independent aspirant from Surma constituency, withdrew her papers on Thursday, the last date for doing so, the Election Commission official said.
Saha is the BJP’s candidate for Town Bordowali assembly seat, while the Congress fielded its heavy weight leader Asish Kumar Saha in the constituency and the Left Front nominee is Raghunath Sarkar of the All India Forward Bloc. Congress’ nominee and former state minister Sudip Roy Barman is pitted against BJP candidate Ashok Sinha and Left Front nominee Krishna Majumder in Agartala seat.
Surma constituency in Dhalai district is set to witness a fight among three candidates- Left Front’s Anjan Das, Swapna Das Paul of the BJP and Baburam Satnami of the Tipra Motha, a regional party headed by royal scion Pradyot Kishore Debbarma. The Congress supported the Tipra Motha nominee for the seat. The Jubarajnagar constituency, considered a traditional Left bastion, will witness a fight between BJP nominee Malina Debnath and Sailendra Chandra Nath of the CPI(M).
The Trinamool Congress, which aims at spreading its footprint in the northeastern state, also fielded its candidates in all four constituencies. Altogether 1, 88,854 electors are eligible to exercise their franchise in the by-elections to the four seats. The bypolls are necessitated due to the death of CPI(M) MLA Ramendra Chandra Debnath (Jubarajnagar) and the resignations of Roy Barman (Agartala) and Asish Saha (Town Bardowali). Besides, the Surma seat became vacant after BJP legislator Asish Das was declared disqualified by the assembly speaker. The counting will be held on June 26.