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Agartala Press Club’s JUMLA Election : Founder members, Senior Journalists protest against farcical ‘No Contest’ Election, case filed against Biplab’s close friend; Journalist community protest against the unconstitutional Election
TIWN Sep 15,2018
Agartala Press Club’s JUMLA Election : Founder members, Senior Journalists protest against farcical ‘No Contest’ Election, case filed against Biplab’s close friend; Journalist community protest against the unconstitutional Election
PHOTO : Agartala Press Club's farcical election under Biplab Deb's blessing. TIWN File Photo

AGARTALA, Sep 15 (TIWN): Going against the undemocratic election of the Agartala Press Club and that too completely violating the Constitution of the Press Club, Senior Journalists Sitangshu Ranjan Dey, Prashanta Chakraborty via their Lawyers Purusottam Ray Barman and Raghunath Mukherjee filed a case yesterday against Pranab Sarkar for grabbing power via a farcical election. Followed by this another senior Journalist cum founder member of the Agartala Club Milan De Sarkar too made a public post yesterday against Pranab Sarkar for illegal activities against Press Club Constitution . But over all bulk of the Tripura media is now against Pranab Sarkar's muscle flexing policy. Many say,"After coming to power Chief Minister Biplab Deb has made himself enveloped by a few journalists in Tripura led by Pranab Sarkar but by large CM has aroused the anger of the Journalist Community. It is learnt from a senior journalist that in most of the media houses in Tripura, Biplab Deb’s bootlicker Journalists created an atmosphere of panic and insecurity. As such though the state govt has not done anything positive so far, no media dares to publish any news criticizing the BJP-IPFT govt.

Infact, the truth is that media persons in Tripura have clearly been instructed by the owners not to write any news against Biplab Deb Govt – a curfew kind of blanket ban on Tripura medias freedom. 

A dark episode, Tripura media is undergoing with Press Club Election scam and politicizing Journalism and Press. Corruption of media turning more visible under BJP ruling and by not obeying Constitution, Journalists themselves are involved in attacking the fourth pillar of democracy. Open hugging with politicians polluted the "Press Club" history of Tripura and in 6 months. In By-Election BJP is occupying Panchayat-seats by muscle power illegally,also in Press Club forceful occupying power have shocked State's Journalist community.

It is learnt that Pranab Sarkar, who is now projecting himself as a hardcore anti-CPI-M banner journalist, was holding key positions in the Press Club during Manik Sarkar's tenure except the last two terms. 

After the 3rd March,2018 after BJP’s Assembly Election win, Pranab Sarkar led gang booted out elected body of Press Club,  an ad-hoc committee was formed against Press Club Constitution. But recently breaking this ad-hoc committee Pranab Sarkar & Co formed the uncontested permanent committee without giving any chance to others to file nomination . As such a group of journos at Agartala are now saying,"What BJP did with the opposition in the name of three-tier panchayat by-poll was adopted by Pranab & Co in the Agartala Press Club, now known as Biplab Deb's Club  " .

Traditionally a retired officer of the State Election Department was supposed to be appointed as RO to conduct Press Club's election. But this time one Sudipta Kar was designated as RO and he too did what he was instructed by Pranab Sarkar . And the 11 members committee is not at all elected  as the very process of election was killed by Pranab 

Even amid BJP's ongoing threats, Senior journalists gathered in protest. Founder member of Agartala Press Club Milan De Sarkar in a press release said, "18 days after BJP-IPFT Govt assumed office a so called adhoc committee on March 25, 2018 had forcibly took over the autocratic control of Agartala Press Club. Two, three members of the adhoc committee with the help of some outsiders created huge pandemonium in the annual general meeting on March 25, 2018 and then created obstacle in the functions of democratically elected Agartala Press Club elected committee headed by veteran journalist and another founder member of the club Satyabrata Chakraborty".

"The convenor of the so called committee Pranab Sarkar, an advocate and a possible BJP candidate of the upcoming Lok Sabha Election and his few close associate turned the prestigious Agartala Press Club, a platform of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for their personal gain and interest", Milan De Sarkar added.

"The so called adhoc committee illegally avoiding the constitution announced self-style election of Agartala Press Club managing committee nakedly violating the election rules of the club constitution and an year-old established convention. The so called adhoc committee issued a press release on Sep 3rd, 2018 and the release was given to two/three newspapers only. Unlike previous year there was no mention about Election-schedule in the press release. It was said, the elections schedule will be available in Agartala Press Club notice board but it was made available on Sept 9, 2018 that is the last date of filing nomination papers. All these illegal steps were taken to turn the so called election a Farce & Mockery".

"Moreover to make the unconstitutional and controlversial election of the Agartala Press Club managing committee a farce the news official cum PIB Official Sudipta Kar was appointed as the Returning Officer even though Kar never Associated with the Agartala Press Club. So called returning officer of the Govt of India became a co-conspirator of manipulation who deprived press club members to exercise their democratic rights", the founder member said.

"I was a member of Agartala Press Club and never witnessed such types of undemocratic, illegal, unconstitutional steps in the past three and a half decade old body", Milan De Sarkar added further urging Agartala Press Club members to register a strong protest against "farcical election" and demand fresh election under the supervision of retired Chief Election Officer or retired State Election Commissioner of the State.

Agartala Press Club’s Pranab Sarkar’s chosen members announced winner via ‘No Contest’ Election are : 

1) Subal Dey (President)

2) Biswendu Bhattacharjee (Vice President)

3) Pranab Sarkar (Secretary)

4) Dipanta Majumder (Asst Secretary)

5) Kamal Kalai (Asst Secretary),

6) Tapan Majumder (Treasurer)

Under the garb of Journalism and publishing favorable news earlier for CPI-M and now in BJP's favour in UNI, Times of  India in exchange of personal benefits also questioned by Senior Journalists. After formation of BJP Govt, in Assembly BJP MLA Surajit Datta raised question that how much money was given to an NGO ' Arpan Society' run by Biswendu Bhattacharjee (In CPI-M era, close to Manik Sarkar), it was found that, Rs 17 Lakhs was given to this NGO and after Biplab Deb Govt assumed power, many more lakhs were given to Arpan Society and other NGOs run by JUMLA Journalists coterie.

So the question raised, are these are Journalists or  they are using Journalism to build ill gotten wealth ? 

Only future will tell what happens to the case filed by Sitangshu Ranjan Dey, but one thing is clear that once Manik Sarkar's close aides Pranab Sarkar and Biswendu Bhattacharjee , suddenly turned as CM Biplab Deb's advisors, are now destroying the basic foundation of media in Tripura. 

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