While both parties have termed the contest as a friendly fight , the tribal partner s support base was found to be constantly eroding since 2018 Assembly elections.

The three-tier panchayat elections in Tripura to be held on July 27 are likely to be a four-way battle as ruling allies BJP and Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) are set to contest on their own.

Maintaining that they had forged an alliance in the state on “common minimum programme,” the two allies termed the contest a “friendly fight.” However, a series of scuffles has created a pide between the two parties. While the IPFT blames BJP for these attacks, the latter has maintained that the assaulters were CPI (M)-turned BJP cadres who are acting as Trojan horses.

What’s at stake

Bolstered by its gains in the Lok Sabha elections, the BJP is looking to expand its base in the state especially in the tribal hamlets. The saffron party had won two Parliamentary seats in the recently held polls.

Meanwhile, IPFT has set eyes on Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) elections, due in early 2020. The party’s spokesperson Mangal Debbarma said their main focus is on tribal areas and they never forayed much in non-tribal areas. But since their ally has decided to go alone in the panchayat polls, the tribal party will also announce some candidates. We shall field some candidates in all three categories. But we haven t yet decided how many , he said.

Tripura Congress president Pradyot Kishore Debburman has also announced that the party will field candidates on all seats. We shall contest in all seats and we shall win if a free and fair election is guaranteed , he said. Tripura Left Front convener Bijan Dhar today told indianexpress.com that the Left parties will try to field candidates in all seats of the Panchayati Raj bodies. However, he said only a fair contest would guarantee proper public mandate and expressed apprehension of political violence.

Agenda for panchayat polls

BJP’s Ratan Lal Nath said that the party wants to focus on public welfare and wants to bring educated people in politics for greater mass connect and actual development on the ground. The Congress has harped on a similar possibility, the party says they will contest on local issues like safe drinking water, higher MNREGA wages, good roads, school education in villages. CPI(M), on the other hand, claim they will contest for “reviving democracy, personal liberty, financial and economic freedom.”

When are the polls scheduled

The elections will be held on July 27 and the results will be declared on July 31. The candidates have to submit the nomination papers between July 1-8 with the BDOs for elections to Gram Panchayat and Panchayat Samities, and to District Magistrates for Zilla Parishad bodies. The scrutiny of the papers are set to be done on July 9 and candidates can withdraw their nomination papers till July 11.

BJP has already declared two lists of candidates for the panchayat polls so far. Candidates for 5127 out of 6,111 seats of 591 Gram Panchayats, 280 out of 419 seats of different Panchayat Samities and 82 out of 116 seats in eight Zilla Parishads have been declared. Law Minister and senior BJP leader Ratan Lal Nath, in a press conference on Saturday evening, said that the final list would be out soon.