Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee will hold a roadshow in Tripura’s Agartala on Wednesday – the first by his party in the northeastern state as it looks to establish itself ahead of Assembly elections due in 2023.
“Abhishek Banerjee will lead the roadshow in Agartala,” Trinamool State General Secretary Kunal Ghosh said.
The party has said several MPs and legislators from Bengal will accompany Mr Banerjee, who is the Trinamool’s National General Secretary, on the roadshow.
The Trinamool, which registered an emphatic win over the BJP in the Bengal election, is keen to emerge as a national player before the 2024 Lok Sabha election.
It does, however, has its work cut out in Tripura, where over 40 of the 60 Assembly seats are held either by the ruling BJP or its allies. The party has also set its sights on Assam, where the BJP retained power after the April-May election.
Abhishek Banerjee’s visit comes in the wake of violence in Tripura and clashes between BJP workers and those of the CPM, which was in power from 1978 to 1988, and again from 1993 to 2018.
“The BJP has been intentionally attacking CPM workers… to divert people’s attention from the rise of Trinamool, but the strategy will not work. We are sympathetic towards CPM workers and support their struggle,” Mr Ghosh said.
“… we urge them to vote for us and oust the BJP,” he added.
Former Tripura CPM State Secretary Baijan Dhar, however, criticised the Trinamool for dragging politics into the current situation.
“We are not opposed to any party holding rallies in Tripura but Trinamool leaders should not drag electoral politics into the current situation. They should have sympathy for our workers who are facing attacks every day,” he said.
Earlier this week central and state security forces were deployed in different parts of Tripura, which has witnessed several incidents of political violence and arson.
On Wednesday, two main offices of the CPM in Agartala were set on fire, allegedly by BJP workers. Vehicles parked outside were also set ablaze.
The CPM has accused BJP of deploying fascist tactics after losing support in the state.
The BJP, meanwhile, has accused CPM supporters of hurling stones at a rally to protest against an attack on its workers on Monday at Dhanpur, about 60 km away.