Six TMC legislators, Congress MLA of Tripura supports Kovind

Agartala : The presidential election has appeared to be crucial for six Trinamool Congress (TMC) legislators of Tripura in BJP's effort to consolidation non-left votes for next assembly elections scheduled in early next year. Trinamool Congress in Tripura is all set to wind up its presence following decision of party supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to support CPI-M backed President nominee Meira Kumar. Tripura TMC President Ashis Saha indicated that their MLAs would likely to cast votes in favour of NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind in the July 17 presidential poll because TMC did not put any candidate in the election and decided to support left backed candidate. The BJP has however, considered it as an opportunity to secure their votes in favour of NDA despite being remained in TMC fold. Initially, TMC MLAs were bought time to join in BJP, as they were not sure about the prospect of the party in the next election rather preferred to fight against CPI-M with an electoral understanding with BJP. Moreover, BJP leaders have been in dilemma of inducting TMC MLAs in BJP, as some local leaders of BJP did not want the entry of senior opposition politicians from TMC fearing their prospect in the party but BJP central leaderships decided to accept them. According to report, BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav and Assam finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who is also the convenor of North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), have asked TMC legislators of Tripura to vote for Kovind first before joining officials in BJP. "The tactics of BJP leaders with TMC MLAs has become risky to negotiate in electoral issues if they vote for BJP candidate being TMC MLAs. Once cast vote for Kovind, they will face the punishment of defying party decision from TMC and they have to join in BJP where they might be exploited by the party taking advantages of the situation," said a senior TMC leader. He said the matter was discussed at length in the party meeting and decided to settle down the score before Presidential election. The BJP central leaderships have also convinced by now without six sitting MLAs of TMC and three Congress, winning election against CPI-M by BJP is very tough and risky rather advantageous for left to come back in division of opposition votes, the TMC leader stated. On the other, Congress MLA and veteran leader Ratan Lal Nath also announced to cast his vote in favour of Kovind protesting the decision of the party to support CPI-M candidate. Recently, Nath was served show cause notice for "anti-party activities and meeting BJP leaders, including party President Amit Shah.
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