Tripura Chief Minister Manik Saha asserted that the BJP will gain from main opposition Tipra Motha's decision to not participate in the upcoming by-elections in the northeastern state.
The CPI(M), however, claimed that the move would consolidate anti-BJP votes.
The Tipra Motha on Friday said it will not support any party in the by-elections to two assembly constituencies -- Dhanpur and Boxanagar in Sepahijala district -- to be held on September 5.
"The Tipra Motha's decision is significant as they did not join the opposition's bid to consolidate anti-BJP votes. Our party will certainly gain from this decision. I believe the BJP will win both the assembly constituencies by impressive margins," the CM told PTI.
Saha, who has been leading the party's campaign trail for the by-elections, said that there was a "misconception" about the BJP among the people.
In this year's assembly elections, the BJP lost the Boxanagar seat, which has over 50 per cent of voters from the minority community, but won Dhanpur mainly due to a split in anti-BJP votes.
"This time, we have been able to remove the misconception. This has been possible because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's slogan 'Sabka Saath Sabka Vikaas'. The PM is working for all, not for any particular section of the people," he said after a marathon party meeting in Boxanagar.
CPI(M) state secretary Jitendra Chowdhury, however, claimed that Tipra Motha workers were working with Left activists on the ground.
"Tipra Motha's announcement (of not contesting the bypolls) is a strategic statement. The ground reality, however, is that workers of Tipra Motha and CPI(M) are working together for the bypolls. Besides, they (Tipra Motha) also did not tell the voters to vote for the BJP," he told reporters.
He claimed Tipra Motha's decision would prevent a division of anti-BJP votes.
Votes polled in the by-elections will be counted on September 8.
The bypoll to Boxanagar constituency was necessitated due to the death of CPI(M) MLA Samsul Haque, while the resignation of Union minister Pratima Bhoumik as legislator of Dhanpur necessitated bypolls to the seat.
The CPI(M)-led Left Front has fielded Kaushik Chanda and Mijan Husain as its nominees for the Dhanpur and Boxanagar assembly constituencies respectively.
The BJP has nominated Taffajal Hussain for the Boxanagar assembly seat and Bindu Debnath for the Dhanpur segment.
In a press conference on Friday, Tipra Motha president B K Hrangkhawl said, "The Tipra Motha has not fielded any candidate in the by-elections. We will not ask party workers and supporters to vote for any particular candidate in the by-elections."
Tipra Motha founder Pradyot Debbarma met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi on August 26 and discussed "the rights and welfare of the indigenous people" ahead of the bypolls in which the main contestants are from the BJP and the CPI(M).
The Left party had recently held discussions with the Tipra Motha and sought its support for the by-elections in which the Congress is not contesting.
Leader of the Opposition Animesh Debbarma said, "The party workers and supporters are free to exercise their democratic rights as per their choice."
The by-elections are not more important than the demand for the separate Greater Tipraland for tribals of the northeastern state, he said at the press conference.
The concept of 'Greater Tipraland' has not been specified, though it is supposed to include parts of several other northeastern states and Bangladesh, besides Tripura.
"The CPI(M) has fielded its candidates. Why should we support them? Let the people make their choice," he added.