The ruling CPI-M in Tripura has decided to project Manik Sarkar as its chief ministerial candidate for the state assembly polls due in February 2018, a party leader said here on Saturday.
Sarkar, 68, who has been Chief Minister of Tripura for 19 years, is a politburo member of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).
Sarkar was reluctant to seek re-election but agreed following a party decision, CPI-M state Secretary Bijan Dhar told the media.
“He will be the Chief Ministerial candidate of the Left Front for the next state assembly elections,” Dhar said.
“Manik Sarkar will contest the polls, win and will be the next Chief Minister,” said Dhar, also a CPI-M central committee member.
Political circles feel that due to Sarkar’s clean image, efficiency and performance, the ruling Left stands a strong chance to win the polls in the state.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has replaced Congress as the main opposition and is making all out efforts to capture power in Tripura.
Unlike previous elections, early announcement of the Left Front’s Chief Ministerial candidate is also an electoral strategy.
The Left has been in power in the state since 1978, except for five years from 1988 to 1992 – when a Congress-led alliance was in power in Tripura.
Speaking about the party’s decision to not nominate General Secretary Sitaram Yechury to the Rajya Sabha for a third term, Dhar said it was done as the party decided not to take any “electoral support” from the Congress or have any alliance with that party.
“That’s why the party did not take support from the Congress to win the Rajya Sabha seat for Yechury in West Bengal,” he said.
He also slammed the opposition parties, especially the BJP, for targetting Manik Sarkar.
“The opposition parties, especially the BJP, have no major issues to counter the Left parties with in Tripura, and that’s why they are spreading personal slanderous facts against Manik Sarkar as he is the main leader of CPI-M and other Left parties.”
A confident Dhar said that the Left Front would return to power for the eighth term.
He said the Left has always remained with the people. It has used the benefits of being in the government to expand the party base and organising successful mass movements on various issues.