In Tripura vote today, a test for only Left govt

FP

Will Tripura's voters — including a little over 53,000 first-time voters — really vote for 'poriborton' and evict the last Left Front government in the country? That's the question on everyone's mind as the small northeast state goes to polls Thursday.

The Congress would like to believe that the people will vote for change. "The people of Tripura have made up their minds to vote for poriborton by ousting the Left Front. This has become more clear after the whirlwind campaign of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in the last two days," claims Samir Roy Barman, president of the Tripura Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC).

The Congress is also banking on the 1.74 lakh state government employees who are the only lot in the entire country who have been deprived of pay scale on par with central government employees. "We have promised them pay at central scales. Moreover, we have promised employment to one person in each family," points out Barman, expecting these two promises to touch every family across the state and tilt the balance in favour of the Congress.

Tripura, with a population of 36.71 lakh has as many as 5.68 lakh names in the state's unemployment register.

The Left Front, which too has promised central pay scales to its employees, however, feels that the majority of the employees would vote for it. "Nobody in Tripura believes in what the Congress has promised," says Bijon Dhar, secretary of the state unit of CPM. The Left Front, which had won 49 seats in 2008, says it will not only for win the elections but also increase its tally.

But those watching the elections closely feel the Left Front's tally might get slightly reduced from what it had in the 2008 elections. "Where is the Left Front's programme for the unemployed? Why is there political consideration in recruitments? Why have state government employees remained deprived of central scales? These questions will definitely impact the voting tomorrow," says Syandan Patrika, the second largest-selling newspaper in the state.

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