Manik Sarkar Tripura

Agartala, Jan 26: Former Tripura CM and veteran left leader Manik Sarkar was not included in the list of 43 CPI (M) candidates to contest the Assembly elections in Tripura as the 74-year-old politician “voluntarily decided” not to fight elections anymore.

Announcing the decision, Jitendra Choudhury, general secretary of CPI-M’s Tripura unit told reporters in Agartala that they kept 13 seats for Congress as per a seat-sharing arrangement while CPI, Forward Block, and RSP will contest in one seat each. The party also decided to give one seat to an independent candidate.

“Comrad Sarkar is a stalwart for all of us and we all wanted him to contest the elections. But he asked the pilot bureau not to include him in the list as he wants to take relief from fighting elections and is willing to concentrate on the organizational works of the party. Even today morning several political bureau members requested him to reconsider the decision but he was firm,” Choudhury told reporters when asked about the reason for not fielding him for the elections.

Sarkar served as Tripura CM for four consecutive terms between 1998 and 2018. BJP and its ally Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), however, wrested power and formed their government for the first time in 2018. However, the CPI (M) and Congress, for the first time in Tripura, decided to join hands with a target to defeat BJP.

Left front convenor in Tripura, Narayan Kar said the CPI (M) list included 24 young leaders, who would contest the Assembly elections for the first time.

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“Even at leader five former ministers also decided not to contest the polls in order to give chance to the young leaders,” he said. The list included three women candidates.

Elections for the 60-member Tripura Assembly will be held on February 16.

When asked if Congress was happy with the number of seats, Choudhury said, “The seats were decided after a thorough and long discussion with the local leaders and AICC in-charge of Tripura, Ajay Kumar. They told us that they will discuss the matter with their Central Election Committee tomorrow and will decide on the name of their candidates. We are very confident that CPI (M) and Congress will defeat the BJP and restore peace, democracy, and rule of law in Tripura,” Choudhury said. The CPI (M), however, did not name their CM candidate yet.