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Exclusive: 'People of Tripura are 'swabhimanis', they rejected TMC's Khela Hobe'

Stating that Tripura will not allow 'Khela Hobe' to happen, Union Minister Pratima Bhoumick stated that the minorities had reposed their faith in the BJP and reaffirmed the commitment to build a new Tripura.

Exclusive interview with Union Minister Pratima Bhoumick on Tripura local election win
New Delhi, First Published Nov 29, 2021, 9:24 PM IST

The Bharatiya Janata Party received a shot in the arm on Sunday when the verdict of the local body elections in Tripura emerged. The party comprehensively swept the elections, winning 329 out of the total 334 seats. In the process, not only did it decimate its principal opposition, Left Front, but also the party's new rival, the Trinamool Congress. To put this win in perspective, Union Minister Pratima Bhoumick spoke exclusively to Asianet Newable's Yacoob. Stating that Tripura will not allow 'Khela Hobe' to happen, the Union Minister stated that the minorities had reposed their faith in the BJP and reaffirmed the commitment to build a new Tripura. Here are edited excerpts of the interview:

What are the takeaways from the victory in local polls from Tripura?

This victory is very significant for us (BJP). To tarnish the image of our state (Tripura), our government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, efforts were made by 'Bargis' (referring to TMC party members as looters in the Bengali language) who hatched a well-planned conspiracy. In 2021, April-May, West Bengal witnessed violence post-elections. Many women were raped, lakhs of our party workers have lost homes, many businesses were impacted.

There is no freedom of speech in West Bengal. These TMC workers who are responsible for such a disaster had entered Tripura and spread lies against the BJP and projected it in a bad light. They came with the intention to spoil the atmosphere in Tripura. Our voters, on November 28, gave a good mandate and saved the state from a bad image.

As Tripura is a small state, they (TMC) referred to it as the frog in a well. They also threatened that if a single TMC member is killed they will kill 500 (BJP) workers in Bengal. They tried to eliminate us and resorted to hooliganism, and created violence in the past. That was part of their plan. We just heard what they said and watched what they did. But we did not react, as there is no 'goondaism' in our DNA. What we have is 'Rashtrawad' (nationalism). This victory is the victory of nationalism, the victory of development and we are all with Prime Minister Modi.

Trinamool alleged that there was massive rigging and accused the BJP of election fraud. What do you say?

What they say is true about 'election fraud' because only they do it. They do fraud and win elections. For a thief (TMC), a person coming in front of him will also appear like a thief only and a Saadhu (referring to BJP) will think of others as a good person. How they won in West Bengal, the media knows better than me. There is no press freedom there. Here election happened (local body election), they (TMC) fielded 100 per cent candidates in two places -- Sonamura Nagar Panchayat and Agartala -- and created a fear there but people rejected them and we won. If we had done any fraud, we could not have secured such a result. Like I said earlier, 'Rashtrawad' is in our DNA and we believe in people's power. There is no place for rowdy elements in our administration.

What are the key takeaways of this mandate?

It is a clear mandate against them (TMC). They had come to Tripura and announced 'Khela Hobe'. We are not football. People of Tripura are not football. We are people, we are human beings. In a way, when 'Khela Hobe' happened in West Bengal, lakhs of women were raped, many were rendered homeless, people lost the freedom to speak and cannot express themselves. This 'Khela Hobe' happened in West Bengal. In Tripura, we will not allow 'Khela Hobe' against our people. Tripura people are swabhimanis (with self-respect). We North East people are a bit emotional and they (TMC) hurt our sentiments. Hence, the public has given a clear mandate against them. In Lok Sabha, our vote share was 61 per cent and this time (local bodies election) we got 59 per cent and this indicates we have maintained well.

'Sab Ka Saath' is our development plan and we are moving ahead with this mantra. And in some places, like Prime Minister Modi said, 'Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikas also Sab Ka Vishwas', I witnessed in Sonamura's two Assembly segments, 2 in Agartala also, in 34 other Assembly segments minorities have voted for BJP in big numbers. And nowwe will build 'new Tripura'.

Will this election mandate in Tripura have an impact on other states that will go to the polls in a few months' time?

They tried to damage Tripura's image, took advantage of Maharashtra and did a 'Khela Hobe' (atrocities). They (opposition parties) claimed that a mosque was burnt in Tripura, but this incident did not happen at all. The Trinamool made it a national issue. This mandate will have an impact. In UP, the issue (false claims of attack on a mosque) is being raised for political benefits. Even I have heard the provoking statements. If such an incident (burning of Masjid) had taken place, why would people vote for us?. We have got 98.5 per cent of seats in the local elections. As we (BJP in other states) have done well, definitely good results will come.


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