Mamata Banerjee Counts On Breaking Trinamool's Tripura Jinx This Time

While Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress is the main opposition party in Meghalaya, in Tripura it is a marginal player, contesting alone in less than half of Tripura's seats

Mamata Banerjee Counts On Breaking Trinamool's Tripura Jinx This Time

Mamata Banerjee campaigns for the Trinamool Congress in Tripura (PTI)

Agartala:

In poll-bound Tripura, the Trinamool Congress is putting all efforts, including running  campaigns by party chief Mamata Banerjee, asking voters to dump the national parties - BJP, Congress and the Left - and choose the Trinamool as an alternative.

While the Trinamool is the main opposition party in Meghalaya, in Tripura it is a marginal player, contesting alone in less than half of Tripura's seats.

But for Ms Banerjee, Tripura has been a political jinx that she desperately wants to break.

"Everyone is talking about the Bangla model. We are winning global awards. They told you they will give Rs 15 lakh. Did you get the money? Now even your LIC (Life Insurance Corporation) money will go," she said during campaigning in Tripura.

"We will not leave Tripura. We have a long association and I want to develop Tripura like I have done in Bengal," Ms Banerjee said at the rally.

The party is trying to gain a foothold in the northeastern state ahead of the election next week. Tripura is a crucial state for the Trinamool's national expansion plans.

After an unsuccessful attempt in Goa, the Trinamool is contesting 28 of the state's 60 seats. A state unit of the Trinamool was formed in Agartala in 1999. In 2016, six congress MLAs joined the Trinamool in Tripura, but a year later they all joined the BJP.

The Trinamool got less than 1 per cent of the vote in the 2018 state election, a poll the BJP won by a landslide.

Ever since Ms Banerjee formed the Trinamool, she has been trying to make political inroads in Tripura. After Bengal, Tripura is the only Bengali-majority state.

One of those who joined the Trinamool briefly was Sudip Roy Burman, a politician who has won elections continuously for over two decades.

"The Trinamool is not a factor. If someone has come here as a vote cutter, the people are conscious enough. They know what happened to the Trinamool in Goa or Manipur," said Mr Burman, now a Congress MLA.

He said the BJP, which is looking to retain Tripura, has dismissed the Trinamool as a marginal player.

"This not for the first time the Trinamool came to Tripura. They have been coming here since 1999 when they were with the BJP. Every time they come here, they have to shutter up and return to Kolkata after the election results are out," said Tripura Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Jishnu Dev Barma.

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