India had only two states where communists were in power before March 3 of this year. Kerala and Tripura. After March 3, winning for the first time, BJP allies demolished the 25-year-rule of the Left Front in Tripura.
Accordingly, as Bharatiya Janata Party is governing most of the states in India today, with the election results of Meghalaya, Tripura and Nagaland on March 3, the BJP’s diverse efforts to form a government has made the party rule even the northeastern region of the country, except for the single state of Mizoram.
If I am to start with whether there was really a pattern or a flawless way for BJP to win, demolishing a 25-year-rule which was supposed to have huge public support and interest, the first issue to be cited is that Tripura lacked a strong opposition party. Until the 2013 election, Congress, being the main opposition to the Left government, gained approximately over 35% of votes. But as Sudip Roy Barman told NDTV,“Voters in Tripura were divided into two groups — Left and anti-Left. Till a few days ago, Congress was the main opposition party but when people saw a nexus between the Congress and Communists they lost confidence and were looking for a party that could dislodge the state government. Finally, they found it in the BJP under Narendra Modi’s leadership.” This point of view somehow shook the position of the Congress party in the state. Sudip Roy Burman was the former President of the Pradesh Congress Committee, who first moved to Trinamool Congress and finally headed to BJP.
On the other hand, secondly, if one claims that the BJP won the election with such huge support, due to the ideologies of the party, and that the people of Tripura came out following and supporting the party’s ideologies, it would definitely not be a correct assertion. Most of the supporters and followers, who are today breathing an air of peace after the BJP’s victory, are actually unaware of their true ideologies (apart from the strong and dutiful supporters of the party). The huge support for BJP today is the result of 25 years of monotonous rule and obsession lingering among a percentage of the people. As the years of rule went on, the increasing power of a group of CPI(M) leaders or cadres, and their domination of and misbehaviour towards the common people, gave rise to a call for change: “A change of need.”
The foremost issue for this change was the tribal vote factor in the 2018 elections. Though Tripura is a land of tribal communities, their sentiments have continuously been hurt, the pushback to which brought this change. During the communist reign, the government never appreciated nor valued the contribution of the indigenous kings of the state, whereas, the kings of Tripura continued their good deeds without any publicity. They were never publicity mongers. But the negligence of left government towards the kings, their deeds, their sacrifices for the sake of the state, and in totality the history and culture of a whole community, made the indigenous community demand and fight for their rights on their own land.
In the history of Tripura, there was not a single chief minister from the indigenous community other than Dasarath Dev, who made the CPI(M) win in the 20 tribal reserved seats of the 60 total seats in the state. But this year, CPI(M) got only two of the 20 seats. This is nothing but the result of negligence and deprivation by the government towards them. Tripura forgot the state’s own history, the history of their existence, the history of their kings. The Saranis (roads) of Tripura are named after Lenin, Marx etc, but the indigenous communities can hardly get a Sarani named after their own kings! They can hardly find a statue of their fighter kings. Most of their historic buildings, including Jackson Gate, Lal Mahal etc, got demolished.
Regardless of the party in power, a government’s responsibility doesn’t end with cultivating huge vote banks. After a period of 25 years, the common people yearned for a change; a change for something better. But cases of scattered mishaps in the land of peace has brought the state to the forefront of the national media. Even though the existence of the state was once not even known to a percentage of Indians. It is really painful to see violence akin to vandalism in the state getting national coverage.
While the new government will only take up governance on March 9, it should be appealed to the government to keep the state peaceful and respect the people’s urge for this change.
History, development, and innovation can exist parallel to each other. To be clear, this is a change only. A change in the political rule. The indigenous community blamed the left government for demolishing the world’s second largest dynasty (the Manikya Dynasty of Tripura), now why blame the BJP for demolishing 25 years of rule? To honour a hero, feel free to make a new one, but why raze another?