The BJP is in the middle of a high-voltage campaign in the state, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PM Modi, who launched a vigorous attack on Chief Minister Manik Sarkar last Thursday, is expected to be in the state again on Thursday. Other senior BJP leaders like Arun Jaitley, Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari and Rajnath Singh have also joined the campaign trail over the last two weeks.
Yogi Adityanath, however, is expected to play a key role in the battle for Tripura. The saffron-clad priest-politician, who also heads the Gorakhnath temple of Uttar Pradesh, is the religious leader of the Nath sect, which has a huge following in the tiny northeastern state.
Of the total 35 lakh voters in Tripura, 10-12 lakh people are associated with the Nath sect and they have sizeable influence in at least 10 of the state's 60 assembly seats.
The community, which is part of the Other Backward Classes, has been demanding Scheduled Caste status for long. Their demand so far has been turned down by the CPM government.
Sources say Yogi Adityanath's rallies and public meetings have been packed. Over the last two days, the UP Chief Minister has held a public rally in Jubarajnagar and led a 10-km roadshow in Dharmanagar town, the headquarters of the North Tripura district.
Speaking to reporters in state capital Agartala today, he called the government an "impediment" for the implementation of the central welfare schemes on poverty alleviation and other sectors. Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and his government have "next to zero" interest in development, despite huge fund allocation from the Centre for education, health and other key sectors, he said.