AGARTALA, Sept 11 - Ruling BJP workers have clashed with activists of ally IPFT and Opposition Congress at two places in Tripura since Monday over submission of nomination papers for the coming by-polls for panchayat bodies.
Altogether 21 political workers and policemen were injured in the two clashes that occurred in West Tripura and Sipahijala districts, the police said.
Workers of the BJP and its ally, Indigenous People�s Front of Tripura (IPFT), clashed at Boxanagar in Sipahijala district on Monday over submission of nomination papers. The BJP and the IPFT have announced to contest the panchayat by-polls and the next Lok Sabha polls separately.
Sipahijala SP Kulwant Singh said, �We dispersed the mob after a lathicharge and bursting of tear gas shells.�
Subdivisional Magistrate Saju Vaheed said, altogether 13 persons � Sonamura Sub-Divisional Police Officer Rajdip Deb, one CRPF man, six IPFT supporters and five BJP supporters � were injured. The IPFT charged the BJP with attacking its cadres, while the saffron party denied the allegation.
�We are in an alliance with the BJP in the State Government. After mutual consultation, we went to submit nomination papers at Boxanagar. Some BJP leaders stopped us on our way. Later, BJP supporters attacked us with stones, bombs and sticks. Many of us were injured,� Youth IPFT president Shuklacharan Noatia claimed.
BJP spokesperson Mrinal Kanti Deb, however, said the party was not involved in any attack on the IPFT.
�The IPFT is our ally in the State Government. There is no strain in the relationship. We also believe in a friendly, democratic electoral exercise and have not attacked Congress supporters. These are baseless allegations,� Deb said. He added the �local issues� would not affect the BJP�s alliance with the IPFT in the Government.
In the other clash today, two groups of BJP and Congress workers clashed near the Dukli Rural Development Block, about 12 km from here. The police lobbed tear gas shells and resorted to lathicharge to disperse them.
Amtali SDPO Ajay Kumar Das said the trouble started shortly after 12 noon when supporters of the two parties were engaged in a fight over submission of nominations.
�At least eight persons including two policemen were injured. One of them received injuries on the head,� Das said.
Tripura Pradesh Congress president Birajit Sinha alleged that BJP supporters had attacked his partymen. Over 3,000 seats of gram panchayats, panchayat samitis and zilla parishads have become vacant after elected public representatives resigned after the BJP-IPFT Government assumed office on March 9 this year.
The by-elections will be held on September 30. � PTI