Traditional campaign methods not working in Tripura claimed political parties

Tanmoy Chakraborty

 Election campaigns in Tripura have been no less than a sight in Tripura all these years with an ensemble of poll songs, jingles, street drama, satirical cartoons and witty limericks. However, as the Lok Sabha elections draws closer in 2019, the common sight is largely missing.

Many political parties have claimed that due to a largescale political violence they were unable to use theirpoll songs, jungles, street theatres, cartoons etc in the poll campaign.

Tripura Left Front convener Bijan Dhar said they have created their poll songs, jingles, street theatres, cartoons etc for the poll campaign but they could not properly use them due to violent attacks from ruling BJP.

“We have got a theme song which was released nationally. We are using that theme song in some places and on social media. However, the poll songs which were made locally could not be used. We are having a hard time thwarting political attacks anyway. The traditional campaign mode is not working out this year so far”, Dhar told reporters.

Dhar said that they had a plan also to hold large rallies but which was not succeed due to political attacks allegedly launched by ruling BJP.

“This time CPI (M) are focusing  on an alternative method to campaign for the Lok Sabha elections including likeuthansabha (courtyard meeting), bazaar sabha, small street corners and small rallies”, Dhar said.

Samir Dhar, a Left intellectual and lyricist and founder of a cultural forum called ‘Awaaz’ said they have been writing poll songs for past several years. However, there was no poll song from ‘Awaaz’ this year.

speaking to reporters, Vice President of Tripura Pradesh Congress Committee Tapash Dey said that however, this year the party has staged their poll songs, jingles, cartoons in many places but many cultural workers were allegedly attacked and harassed during the Lok Sabha campaign.

“We have got 8 major election songs this year along with over a hundred limericks, 150 plus cartoons and a wide array of literature that we are distributing among people to support our campaign against the Narendra Modi government. But our leaders and cultural workers are being attacked every day. Even Lok Sabha candidates are not spared”, Dey said.

Both the opposition party including CPI (M) and Congress raised their slogan against BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They are hoping that if the elections are held in a free and fair and peaceful way than they would win both seat of Lok Sabha this year.

Tripura has two Lok Sabha seats including West Tripura constituency and East Tripura (ST Reserve) constituency which is currently holds by the Opposition CPI (M).

This year the ruling BJP has got 10 poll songs from national cultural front and four songs which were produced locally. Apart from these, there are also a part of street drama scripts, jingles, posters, slogans etc. which are being used during campaign to attract people.

BJP Spokesperson NabenduBhattachyra said that BJP is mainly focusing its poll campaign to bring back ‘Chowkidaar’.

Meanwhile, the alliance partner Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) has staged candidates against ruling BJP this year.

IPFT spokesperson Mangal Debbarmasaid over 100 poll songs in Kokborok language are ready to use in the poll campaign.

“We are using over 100 poll songs in our campaigns. We could not arrange anything else in our cultural front since there is not much time, nor resources. We are getting good response so far”, Mangal informed.

Debbarma said they have only one agenda which is to send their MPs to Delhi for their demand of – ‘Tipraland’, a proposed state for tribal communities of the state, which can be raised in parliament.

Apart from the four major political parties, few more regional parties like Indigenous Nationalist Party of Twipra (INPT), National Conference of Tripura (NCT), IPFT – Tipraha, a breakaway faction of IPFT, TUIPC etc. are in the fray. They have expressed support to Congress and are jointly campaigning with the party.