Elected BJP, CPI (M) members defy ‘whip’, join hands at Tripura’s Srinathpur gram panchayat

Debraj Deb

State Congress vice president Tapas Dey condemned BJP-CPI (M) combine at Srinathpur gram panchayat as an ‘unholy alliance’.

Elected public representatives of ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and opposition Communist Party of India (Marxist) have defied party ‘whips’ and come together to form a joint-committee at Srinathpur Gram Panchayat in Unakoti district. Takum Ali, who won three-tier Panchayat elections at Srinathpur gram panchayat earlier this year with a CPI (M) ticket, has assumed charge as Pradhan.

“There is nothing wrong in it. I am still an active member of BJP," Ali told reporters.

Ali said he agreed on a "temporary basis" with an elected member of BJP to run the Panchayat. “I am still a CPI (M) member. I have not received any letter of whip from party higher ups," Ali told reporters.

It was done as per agreement with BJP's Siraj Miah, who was elected Upapradhan of the panchayat body.

Speaking to indianexpress.com, CPI (M) Unakoti district secretary Krishnendu Choudhury said those who formed board in the gram panchayat in alliance with BJP defied party whip and did not have formal approval.

“We had decided that we would not contest since we didn’t have majority here in Srinathpur. A whip has also been issued but four persons defied whip and formed board with the BJP in the gram panchayat. Now we are considering to take legal steps against them. There is no question of allying with the BJP," he said.

Similarly, BJP spokesperson Ashok Sinha said, “They have gone against party whip. BJP has not allied with CPI (M)."

State Congress vice president Tapas Dey condemned BJP-CPI (M) combine at Srinathpur gram panchayat as an ‘unholy alliance’ and said, “They are extreme right and extreme left. They are always together; these are opportunist parties. For them, grabbing power is all it takes. They aren’t bothered about peoples’ mandate."

Srinathpur gram panchayat has 13 members. Within the new committee, four of five elected CPI(M) members joined hands with five elected BJP candidates. They supported both Pradhan and Upapradhan, thus keeping Congress at bay.

In three-tier panchayat election results announced in August this year, BJP won 638 out of 833 gram panchayat seats, while CPI(M) ended up with 22. Congress bagged 158 and ruling ally Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT) secured 6 seats. The saffron party also won 74 out of 82 Panchayat Samiti seats and 77 out of 79 seats in the eight Zilla Parishad bodies.