After her two-day visit to the western coastal state of Goa at the end of October, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is preparing to visit her northeastern neighbor of her state, Tripura, where her party, the Trinamool Congress (TMC), has also held an eye on the council elections scheduled for 2023.

Mamata Banerjee will visit Tripura in December, her nephew and Secretary General of the All India Transitional Military Council, Abhishek Banerjee, announced at a rally in Tripura on Sunday. He has already made four visits to the state in the past three months.

In Tripura, former Assam Congress MP, TMC Rajya Sabha member Sushmita Dev plays a leadership role in TMC. Dev’s father, Santosh Mohan Dev, a late Congress champion, used to be an influence in both Assam and Tripura.

From his rally on Sunday, Abhishek made sharp stands in the BJP government in the state for adopting undemocratic methods to prevent the TMC from carrying out its political programmes.
“We will fight to the last drop of our blood. That is our promise! We will stand by the people of Tripura and fight for them, fight for their freedom,” said the young Banerjee of the march.

Politics in the small state of just two Lok Sabha seats is heating up even since the TMC launched an expansion campaign there after returning to power in West Bengal for a third consecutive term. Tripura has a large Bengali population and shares some cultural similarities with West Bengal.

Politically, Tripura has been dominated by leftists for most parts of the past three decades, with Congress being its main competitor. However, the TMC significantly weakened the Congress there through poaching in 2016, but later the BJP built its organization in the state by poaching the TMC, which had to overcome the retreat and eventually toppled the TMC BJP Manik Sarkar CPI (M) led the government in 2018.

Their Tripura initiatives were revived after the results of the Bengal Assembly elections and since then the state has seen a number of attacks on TMC supporters and organizers, at the hands of BJP members and supporters. As of now, it appears that the General Assembly elections of 2023 will see a three-corner battle between the BJP, the left and the TMC.

Last month, Abhishek was unable to hold a scheduled protest rally in Tripura after the management refused permission, citing various reasons for different days.
Also yesterday, trouble erupted after the Transitional Military Council claimed that the police, which had given permission to gather four days earlier, withdrew it at the last minute citing the restrictions related to the pandemic. The TMC later approached the Tripura High Court, which allowed the party to conduct the program with a limited audience attendance.

In a statement Saturday night, Dave called it a “moral victory”. Dev also filed a petition in the High Court against the alleged refusal of the Biplab Deb government in Tripura to authorize the TMC events.

The TMC appointed former Congress MLA Subir Bhowmik as the party’s Tripura unit head.

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