AGARTALA, Sept 6 - The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has announced 2,980 candidates for the ensuing Panchayat by-elections in Tripura. There are a total of 3,207 seats in the Gram Panchayats, Panchayat Samitis and Zilla Parisads.
Candidates for the remaining 227 seats will be announced tomorrow. State BJP president Biplab Kumar Deb has already given his nod to the list of party candidates for the rural by-polls.
The last date of filing nomination papers is September 11. The polls are slated to take place on September 30.
Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters here today, Education Minister Ratan Lal Nath, who is also the chairman of the BJP�s election committee, said that the party has given priority to women, and ST and SC candidates for the by-elections. A record number of 1,452 women have been nominated for unreserved seats, while 430 and 116 female candidates have been given tickets to contest from SC and ST seats respectively, he added.
Nath said the BJP wants all parties, including its coalition partner IPFT, to contest the rural elections to strengthen democracy in the State. He revealed that the party leadership had already spoken to IPFT leaders, including their chief NC Debbarma, on the panchayat by-elections. �Both sides have agreed to a friendly electoral battle,� Nath said.
On the Opposition�s charge that a sense of insecurity prevails in the State, the Education Minister said that the situation is conducive to holding the panchayat by-elections. The Opposition parties have failed to find candidates to fight the electoral battle, he quipped.
State BJP general secretaries Pratima Bhowmik and Rajib Bhattacharjee were also present in Thursday�s press conference.
Meanwhile, a Left Front delegation, headed by its convener Bijan Dhar, today met State Election Commissioner GK Rao and submitted a memorandum to ensure that candidates of Opposition parties could submit their nomination papers.
�The situation has been volatile since the new Government assumed power. But the Left Front will fight the by-elections as it believes in democratic value,� said Dhar at a press conference here.