25 Years, 6 Elections: Tripura Heavyweight’s Victory Streak Beats All Odds
From being a Left fortress to a BJP stronghold, a lot has changed for Tripura over the past two decades. Heavyweight leader Sudip Roy Barman too has seen his share of ups and downs, changing three parties and fine-tuning his political positions.
What has not changed is Agartala’s rock-solid support for the 56-year-old Barman, who is set to represent the seat in Assembly for 30 years with his sixth thumping victory.
The son of former chief minister Samir Ranjan Barman, Mr Barman started his political career with the Congress’ student wing NSUI. He later rose up the party ranks to become the party’s state chief.
Mr Barman lost his first Assembly poll contest in 1993 when he was against former Chief Minister Nripen Chakraborty. He went on to win the seat in 1998 and has not looked back since.
In 2016, Mr Barman was among six Congress MLAs who switched to Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, protesting the Congress’s Bengal alliance with the CPM.
A year later, he switched again, this time to the BJP. He was also named minister in the Biplab Deb cabinet after the BJP’s 2018 victory, but was removed soon after for alleged anti-party activities.
Last year, Mr Barman came a full circle, returning to the Congress and interestingly, fighting an election in which the Left and the Congress have tied up.
While Mr Barman seems to be cruising to victory with a big margin of over 8,000 votes, his claims for a BJP rout have fallen flat.
Speaking to NDTV in the run-up to the election, he had said that the BJP would be “uprooted” in this contest. “BJP is all set to be uprooted. The election is the mandate of the people. The people are very much disgruntled and annoyed with the BJP because of their misrule and corruption, fake promises delivered in 2018. I left the BJP because they never heard the voice of the people,” he had said.
The Left-Congress is currently leading in just 14 seats.