The ruling CPI(M) has launched a scathing attack on the main opposition Congress for forging an electoral alliance with the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT), alleging that the latter has a “nexus” with the extremists. Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and party leaders have been contending that both are trying to exploit extremists to influence the assembly elections in Tripura slated for February 14.

The rhetoric of Left leaders brought the extremist issue to the center stage of politics in the State. The voices of the Congress and the INPT are visibly feeble as they are lagging behind in the campaign trail.

“The alliance is nothing but to extract mileage with help of extremists,” the Chief Minister said in several election rallies. He alleged that the Congress was scared of facing a fair election battle and it even tried to use surrendered extremists.

Speaking at a party meeting at Dharmanagar town in north Tripura on Sunday, Mr. Sarkar claimed that the Congress-INPT combine was trying to fan trouble ahead of the assembly elections. He said the Opposition did not want peace and stability in the State, which had suffered for long from insurgency and ethnic violence.

Taking a cue from the Chief Minister, CPI (M) leaders such as party State secretary Bijan Dhar and spokesperson Gautam Das slammed the Opposition alliance. Mr. Das, also editor of the party’s mouthpiece ‘Desher Katha’ claimed that the INPT was the ‘mask’ of the outlawed National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT).

“They (Congress-INPT) came to power for a term in 1988 with the help of extremists and this time also, they are conspiring to restage the same,” Mr. Das alleged at a party meeting near Agartala on Monday. Mr. Bijan Dhar, who rubbished several of the assurances made by the Congress-INPT in their joint manifesto, told newsmen: “The people of Tripura would give a befitting reply to this nefarious alliance.”

Meanwhile, Chief Electoral Officer Asutosh Jindal informed that 15 general election observers have so far arrived in the State. He said the process of appointing 20,000 polling staff for the elections in the 60 constituencies in the State is underway.

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