Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah on Sunday asked the people to oust Tripura's 'Lal bhai' government, as he accused the Left cadres of pocketing public funds meant for development and promised to make the state a model one if his party is voted to power.
With the BJP being seen as putting up a strong challenge to the 25-year-old uninterrupted Left reign in the state, Shah led an eight-kilometre road show and addressed rallies in which he sought votes for the state's 'transformation'.
Ahead of the assembly polls to be held next Sunday, Shah made a host of promises to the people of the state, including smart phones for youths, implementation of the seventh pay commission for government employees from the next day of his party being voted to power and action against chit fund scam accused.
Without naming Rahul Gandhi, he alleged that the Congress chief had put up candidates as 'vote-katva' (cutting into others' votes) to help the Communist Party of India-Marxist government headed by Chief Minister Manik Sarkar to come back to power.
The Congress was the main opposition party until the last assembly polls but has seen a serious depletion in its ranks with many of its leaders, including MLAs, joining the BJP.
"The government of 'Lal bhai' and its cadres have looted Tripura for 25 years in the name of development... A BJP government is bound to come. It won't be merely a change of MLAs or government but will usher in its transformation," he said at a rally.
The Left government, he said, was made in the name of the poor but poverty increased in its 25 years of rule and the number of unemployed youths rose to 7.33 lakh from 25,000 during the period.
A BJP government will give employment to every household, Shah said.
Taking on Sarkar for his charge that that the Centre had not done much for the state's development, the BJP chief reeled out the names of a number of central schemes and noted that it had released Rs 25,396 crore to Tripura under the 14th finance commission against Rs 7,283 crore it had got under the 13th finance commission.
"Where has all this extra RS 18,000 crore gone? It has gone into pockets of Communist cadres. I dare Sarkar to give an account of this money in his public meeting," Shah said at the rally.
Raising the party's slogan, 'Chalo Paltai' (Let's change the government), Shah sought the Left's ouster from the state.
The BJP is contesting 51 out of the 60 assembly seats, while its ally Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) is fighting on nine seats.
He also accused the Left parties of spreading rumours that the state would be divided if the BJP comes to power and asserted that there would no division and Tripura would remain as it is.
IPFT, which represents sections of tribals, had earlier raised the demand of a separate state but has not pushed for it following its alliance with the BJP, which is opposed to any division of Tripura.
Shah said a BJP government would protect and promote the cultural heritage and values of tribals.
Touching on cultural issues of the state, he said the Left government would celebrate birth anniversaries of Lenin and Stalin but not of Vivekananda, Tagore and a revered king of the state.
The Left has been finished off in the world and the Congress is fading away in the country, Shah claimed.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ushered in an era of development and that the state should invest in his leadership, he said.
At another rally in Chawmanu, Shah accused the Left government of practising politics of violence and said a BJP government will end this and usher an era of development.
The Communist government of Tripura has done nothing in last 25 years of its rule, Shah claimed.
IMAGE: BJP president Amit Shah being received by the supporters at a public rally in Agartala on Sunday. Photograph: PTI Photo