BJP seeks Reang refugees’ vote in Mizoram assembly polls

Agartala (Tripura), Nov18 : The BJP, which is determined to oust the Congress in Mizoram after forming governments on its own or in alliance in the seven northeastern states, on Sunday urged the Reang tribal refugees, sheltered in Tripura to vote for the saffron party in the November 28 assembly polls, reported news agency IANS.

The report said three Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders — Assam’s minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, BJP’s Tripura Pradesh General Secretaries Pratima Bhowmik and Rajib Bhattacharjee — on Sunday addressed a gathering of Reang tribal refugees at Gachiram Para in northern Tripura adjoining Mizoram.

The leaders appealed to the immigrants to vote for the party candidates contesting Mizoram assembly polls, the report said.

Over 35,000 Reang tribal refugees, comprising 5,907 families, fled from Mizoram and have been staying in Tripura’s Kanchanpur and Panisagar sub-divisions for the past 21 years following ethnic tension after a Mizo forest official was killed in the neighbouring state, the report said.

The report said among the refugees, only a little over 11,232 immigrants are eligible to vote in the November 28 elections to constitute a new 40-member Assembly in the Congress-ruled Mizoram.

The BJP has put up 39 candidates this time while the party in the 2013 assembly polls had had fielded 17 candidates and secured only 0.37 per cent of the votes.

“If the BJP comes to power in Mizoram, all the problems of Reang and other tribals would be solved. The Congress did nothing for the development of the state and also for the minority tribals,” the report quoted Assam’s minister Himanta Biswa Sarrma saying .

The report said that the four-partite agreement signed in Delhi on July 3 to resolve the refugee problems and to repatriate the tribals to Mizoram, was faulty and the BJP would do justice to the refugees if the party voted to power in the polls.

The report said that , a multi-corner contest would be witnessed between the ruling Congress, BJP and Mizo National Front (MNF), a regional party, which ruled the state for two terms (1998-2003, and 2003-2008).

Though the MNF is a constituent of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), no pre-poll alliance was formed between the BJP and MNF.

Political experts predict that after the polls, the MNF might forge an alliance with the BJP to form the government.

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