‘National parties should focus on smaller states’

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Abhishek Poddar | 30 Coffee Shop Owner, Agartala, Tripura
Abhishek Poddar | 30 | Coffee Shop Owner, Agartala, Tripura. Photo: Abhishek Saha

Even though my state is politically vibrant, I am not a member of any party. As a businessman, I do follow political developments, especially in my city, because local politics has a direct bearing on my business, which caters to the local market. But national policies also matter for an entrepreneur like me.

For me, the most important issues are connectivity and transport. Tripura suffers from a huge communication bottleneck. The rail connectivity here is based on the metre gauge, which is outdated. So, I am keen to have a government at the Centre that will enable broad gauge connectivity to remote places like Tripura and other parts of the Northeast. It is high time all the remote areas of the country, including border areas, were connected through a broad gauge network.

Even though our state is very small, the government has performed well. Our Chief Minister Manik Sarkar has been good for the state. Sarkar is known for his clean and honest image, and is also known to be the poorest chief minister in India. I want a prime minister like him, with a persona and image that would inspire the youth.

For me, both Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi are the same. They don’t have time to discuss issues faced by people living in small towns and remote places. I will vote because I want to be part of the political process, but it is high time national parties gave more emphasis to smaller states.

As told to Ratnadip Choudhury

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A young IT professional by training and a journalist by chance, Ratnadip comes from the smallest Northeastern state of Tripura and has been reporting out of Northeast India for ten years, as of 2014. An award winning Journalist, Ratnadip started his career with the Tripura Observer and went on to work with the Northeast Sun, The Northeast Today, News Live, Sahara Time and The Sunday Indian. He has also contributed to BBC, CNN, NatGeo TV, NDTV, CNN-IBN and TIMES NOW. Before joining Tehelka, Ratnadip worked with the national bureau of the television news channel NewsX. He specialises in conflict reporting and has a keen interest in India’s eastern neighbours. He has won the RedInk Excellence in Journalism Award 2013, Northeast Green Journo Award 2013, LAADLI Media awards for Gender sensitivity 2013. He is among 10 young Indian scholars selected by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on trans-boundary river issues of the subcontinent. He is based in Guwahati.

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