The Tripura Police allegedly stopped the IPAC team from leaving their hotel.
A team from poll strategist Prashant Kishor's IPAC (Indian Political Action Committee) has allegedly been detained in Tripura, where they went to do some groundwork for Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress. The Tripura police have been camping at the hotel lobby since morning and are not allowing them to leave the premises, sources in the IPAC told NDTV.
The 22 IPAC employees were in Agartala to assess the political situation and potential support base for the Trinamool Congress. Election in the BJP-ruled state is due in 2023.
The news of the detention coincided with Ms Banerjee's arrival in New Delhi this evening. Her stated agenda: Stitching up opposition unity against the BJP ahead of the 2024 national elections, in which Prashant Kishor -- her poll strategist in the assembly elections -- is apparently playing a key role.
Senior Trinamool Congress leader and Ms Banerjee's nephew Abhishek Banerjee tweeted:
The fear in @BJP4Tripura before even @AITCofficial stepped into the land, is more than evident!
They are so rattled by our victory in #Bengal that they've now kept 23 IPAC employees under house arrest.
Democracy in this nation dies a thousand deaths under BJP's misrule!— Abhishek Banerjee (@abhishekaitc) July 26, 2021
This morning, the police allegedly stopped team from leaving their hotel, saying they have violated Covid norms. Sources in the IPAC said the team had all the necessary Covid-related papers.
The police said the questioning of the team at the hotel was part of routine check-up.
"The outsiders-- around 22 persons—were roaming around in various places. Since Covid restrictions are in place, we are inquiring to verify the reasons behind their arrival and stay in the city. They all underwent Covid tests on Monday, the reports are awaited," Manik Das,
Superintendent of Police, West Tripura, was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India.
Trinamool's state unit chief Ashish Lal Singha called it an "attack on democracy".
"Being a resident of Tripura, I am shocked. It is not Tripura's culture. The BJP has panicked following the overwhelming response and support to the TMC due to the misrule of the BJP led government in Tripura," PTI quoted him as saying.