AGARTALA, India, Feb. 5, Reuter: The defeated communist government in India’s northeastern Tripura state on Friday accused the Congress Party ol misusing the army to ensure victory in last Tuesday’s Assembly elections.
Separatist guerrillas killed 105 people in the month before the election and Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi declared the state a disturbed area and sent in the army a week ago to keep the peace.
But defeated Communist Chief Minister Nripen Chakraborty alleged that Congress had fomented unrest as a pretext for calling in the troops. “The army was used for political purposes by the Prime Minister and used to rig the elections”, he said,
Congress, allied to a local tribal party, confounded predictions by winning 31 seats in the 60member Assembly while the Communists slumped to 28 from 39. Voting for one seat was postponed following the death of a candidate.
State Congress President Sudhir Mazumdar was sworn in as Chief Minister on Friday while his predecessor Chakraborty, at 82 the Doyen of the Communist party of India Marxist, may step down as state party leader.
But talking to reporters here he angrily denounced the victors for winning, “in a manner that was totally unconstitutional, undemocratic, authoritarian and nakedly communal. There was so much rigging with the help of the paramilitary forces that our party could do nothing”.
The Communist Chief, who had rule the State bordering Bangladesh for the past decade, added: “We do not accept the verdict of the elections as the verdict of the people.
“We are considering going to court over the partisan character of the election commission, which worked for the Congress and Rajiv Gandhi,” he said.
Within Congress, a senior leader said the slender majority and the conflicting claims for office among local party officials augured ill for stable government.
“Everyone will want to taste power after being without it for 10, years,” he said. “We will have to keep a very tight leash on the people here. One cannot rule out President’s rule if the infighting among Congressmen gets out of control”.
President’s rule involves suspension of the local Assembly and direct rule from New Delhi to prevent the breakdown of law and order.
It is already in force in Punjab and was imposed last month on the Southern state of Tamil Nadu after a local power struggle culminated in fighting in the State Assembly in Madras.
Article extracted from this publication >> February 12, 1988