Kolkata: Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Tripura on Thursday, security has been beefed up in the hill state with central and state paramilitary forces deployed at strategic locations in the two border districts where the PM scheduled to speak.
The hill state in the North East, bordered on three sides by Bangladesh, has been kept under a thick security blanket ahead of Modi’s arrival.
PM Modi is set to address two election rallies in Sipahijala district’s Sonamura subdivision in Tripura West and Unakoti district’s Kailashahar in northern part of the state.
This will be Modi’s first political rally in Tripura after he became the Prime Minister in 2014.
BJP spokesperson Mrinal Kanti Deb told News18 that an estimated crowd of more than one lakh is expected at both the venues.
“We are expecting a good percentage of tribal voters in the rallies. We will be welcoming Prime Minister Modi in the traditional way. This is PM Modi’s first political rally in Tripura for assembly polls. In 2013, BJP’s star campaigner was Rajnath Singh. This time, all political heavyweights are campaigning in the state, which is a big thing for us,” said Deb.
Tripura is set to go to polls on February 18, while the results for all the 60 Assembly constituencies will be declared on March 3. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has been in power in the state since 1993.
According to Tripura Chief Electoral Officer Sriram Taranikanti, there are 1,76,263 voters in Unakoti district and 3,64,928 voters spread across nine assembly constituencies in Sipahijhala district.
With the battle line clearly drawn between Modi ‘sarkar’ (government) and Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, the saffron party’s slogan is ‘Chalo Paltai’ (Let’s bring change).
While the slogan has become a hit with BJP supporters, the ruling Left feels that people’s verdict rests on the work CPI(M) has done since past 24 years.
Chief Minister Manik Sarkar will be contesting from his home turf of Dhanpur Assembly constituency for the fifth consecutive term. He has retained Dhanpur under Sonamura subdivision since 1998 when he first became the chief minister.
While the BJP had released its list of candidates for the Tripura elections, it has refrained from announcing a chief ministerial candidate.
(With inputs from Tanmoy Chakraborty)