Elections are still a year away in Tripura but the political battle has begun to heat up. With the BJP entering the equation and an aggressive Trinamool Congress coming out of a stupendous victory in West Bengal, the ruling Left in Tripura has reasons to be worried.
"If I have understood Tripura, If I love the people of Tripura, then I believe it's time for the CPM to go. Their days are counted. When the Tripura elections come, we will repeat what happened in West Bengal in 2011, here in 2018," said the fiery West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee at a rally on Saturday.
Hoping for a repeat of 2011 elections in West Bengal where she unseated a 35-year-old Communist regime, Mamata Banerjee now wants to oust the 19-year-old Manik Sarkar government in Tripura.
In battle for Tripura, the Congress will look at retaining its identity and presence, and the Trinamool will look to create one. The CPM however is confident of returning to power even as Ms Banerjee throws a challenge.
CPM spokesperson Goutam Das told NDTV: "Not only Mamata Banerjee, even the BJP is eying Tripura. From our side we are depending upon the people. It is the people who voted the Left front here."
Mamata's supporters are excited with just six MLAs who recently jumped from the Congress to give the Trinamool a presence in the state assembly. It's not going to be an easy battle for TMC against chief minister Manik Sarkar, who is seen as an efficient administrator.
"I don't agree that he is an efficient administrator. If he was efficient then during his regime, why people are deprived of a proper law and order situation, where is the law of the land? Where is development of Tribals? Why have they failed to provide clean drinking water? Where is the electricity? Why have they failed to create jobs?"
The Congress may find its force depleted with its MLAs crossing over to the Trinamool, and will now have to retain its numbers to remain relevant in Tripura politics, and not become a spent force as critics say it has become.