BJP members gherao residences of Tripura CM, Ministers

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Agartala, July 18 (IANS) BJP supporters on Tuesday laid siege to the official residences of the Tripura Chief Minister and four Ministers over the road and rail blockade in the state even as the tribal party behind it indicated lifting of the blockade.

A state Bharatiya Janata Party delegation later met Governor Tathagata Roy, who urged them not to lay siege to the official residences as he would take the initiative to get the road and rail blockade put up by the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) lifted.

“We withdrew the siege after 7.30 p.m. on Tuesday in front of the residences of Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and his Ministers after an assurance from the Governor,” Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Tripura unit President Biplab Kumar Deb told the media here after a party meeting.

In the meantime, a 10-member IPFT delegation led by party President Narendra Chandra Debbarma also met the Governor, who asked the tribal outfit to withdraw the road and rail blockade immediately and hold parleys with the government.

Taking to the media on Tuesday evening, Debbarma indicated the IPTF might withdraw the 9-day road and rail blockade on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.

Around 1,500 BJP supporters led by Deb and other senior party leaders put up barricades around the residences of Sarkar, Health Minister Badal Choudhury, Tribal Welfare Minister Aghore Debbarma, Jail Minister Manindra Reang and Education Minister Tapan Chakraborty, confining them there since early morning, police said.

As security forces took positions in and around the barricades and the residences, tension prevailed in the state capital and its outskirts. Movement of traffic was also badly affected.

“A (weekly) Cabinet meeting could not be held as the Chief Minister and other Ministers were unable to come to their offices at the Capital Complex (seven km from here),” a top official in the Chief Minister’s Secretariat said.

The IPFT has been blockading the National Highway-8, the state’s lifeline, and a lone railway line since July 10, leading to shortage of essential commodities, fuel, food grain and other goods.

A Tripura government release said Union Minister Kiren Rijiju on Monday informed Sarkar that he will hold talks with the IPFT leaders on Tuesday afternoon.

The Opposition Congress on Monday called for a 12-hour shutdown in Tripura on Wednesday to protest against what it called the “conspiracy of the BJP ahead of assembly elections and to instigate tribal parties to create chaos in the state”.

–IANS

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