An eclectic range of individuals, ranging from an ex-royal who is a remote sensing specialist, a teacher, a law student, a former bureaucrat, one who is unlettered and even a novice in politics are trying their electoral luck in the Lok Sabha polls in Tripura.
Congress candidate and ex-royal Maharaj Kumari Pragya Deb Burman, 50, who is a remote sensing and urban settlement specialist; and Bharatiya Janata Party nominee Rebati Tripura, 43, an academician, are novices in politics.
Narendra Chandra Debbarma, 76, a candidate of the ruling BJP's ally, the Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT) and a former Station Director of All India Radio (AIR), Agartala; Tripura Government Law College student Jayki Murasing, 25; former bureaucrat Chitta Ranjan Debbarma, 58; and former bank official Arun Kumar Bhaumik, 64, are also trying their electoral luck.
Quite obviously, their issues are varied.
Pragya Deb Burman, who is the elder sister of Tripura Pradesh Congress President Pradyot Bikram Manikya Debbarman, is a post graduate diploma in Human Urban Settlement and Remote Sensing from Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (in Dehradun) under the ISRO.
Deb Burman's father, Maharaj Kirit Bikram Kishore Deb Burman, was thrice (1967, 1977 and 1989), elected to Lok Sabha from the Tripura East Lok Sabha seat and her mother, Maharani Bibhu Kumari Devi, (also former Tripura minister) won in 1991. Deb Burman is also the state Convener of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage.
"The Congress is in my blood and I want to serve the people, specially the backward tribals in a different ways. I would not politicise the issue. They should not be treated as vote bank," Deb Burman told IANS.
Debbarma's IPFT has since 2009 been agitating to upgrade the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) to a separate tribal state. The TTAADC has jurisdiction over two-thirds of Tripura's 10,491 sq. km area that is home to over 12,16,000 people, mostly tribals.
All political parties, including the BJP, the Communist Party of India-Marxist and the Congress are opposed to the IPFT's statehood demand.
Most of the 23 candidates, two less than the 2014 elections, are highly educated.
Narayan Chandra Dey is the only exceptional who never went to any educational institution, and is contesting as a candidate of the Adi BJP party (old BJP), a registered unrecognised party.
"The present leaders of the BJP in Tripura are not giving due recognition and respect to the party's old guard. That's why we have formed the Adi BJP party few years back," Dey told IANS.
The ruling BJP's nominee Pratima Bhoumik, a science graduate, the Congress's Subal Bhowmik and CPI-M sitting Lok Sabha member and trade union leader Sankar Prasad Dattaare seasoned politicians wants for further development of Tripura.
There are three women of the 23 nominees for Tripura's two Lok Sabha seats (one voted on April 11 and the other will vote on April 18).
(Sujit Chakraborty can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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