AGARTALA, Sept 7 - The ruling BJP and its coalition partner, Indigenous People�s Front of Tripura (IPFT), will be engaged in a �friendly electoral battle� as both parties have decided to contest the Panchayat by-elections in the State separately.
The Panchayat by-elections are scheduled to be held for 3,207 seats on September 30. �The IPFT will contest the by-elections without any electoral understanding with the BJP, a partner in the coalition government,� said IPFT spokesman Mangal Debbarma.
Talking to reporters today, Debbarma said all the district-level committees were asked to finalise the candidates for the three-tier Panchayat by-elections. �Accordingly, district committees are doing their assigned jobs and hopefully, the party nominees will be able to submit their papers to the ROs within the stipulated time,� he said.
�This is a grassroot-level election. No electoral understanding was reached by either side to check their actual organisational strength,� he said.
In the same vein, Education Minister Ratan Lal Nath has already asserted that the BJP would contest the Panchayat by-elections alone while welcoming other parties, including the IPFT, to join the electoral battle.
�This is our strategy to contest the by-elections separately to check the organisational strength. These by-elections are unlikely to affect the Assembly or Lok Sabha elections and that is the reason everybody is free to join the poll battle,� he said.
Political analysts say the decision to fight separately by partners of the coalition government will escalate the tension between them. The relations between the two parties have soured over the selection of chairpersons of block advisory committees (BACs). Besides, it will send a wrong message to the people, they add.
The last date for submitting nomination papers is September 11, while scrutiny will be done on September 12. The last date for withdrawal of nomination papers is September 14.