Agartala, Jan 8 (SocialNews.XYZ) Influential tribal party Tipraha Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance (TIPRA) on Sunday urged the ruling BJP's ally, the Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT) to contest the forthcoming Assembly election together for the all-round development of the tribals.
In a video message, TIPRA supremo and former royal scion Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barman said that the TIPRA, the IPFT, and all other like-minded parties can fight the upcoming Assembly polls together in a common symbol for the greater cause of the tribals, who constitute one third of Tripura's little over four million populations.
However, IPFT's working President and state minister Prem Kumar Reang said that they have yet to get any such formal proposal from TIPRA.
"We would soon hold our Executive Committee meeting and discuss all political issues," Reang told IANS.
The IPFT since 2009 has been demanding to make the areas under the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) as a full-fledged state while the TIPRA, since 2021, has been demanding the separate tribal state "Greater Tipraland".
"Most political parties and their leaders are fighting the elections for the posts and power, we are fighting to develop and protect the indigenous tribals and their future," Deb Barman said.
Talking to IANS over phone from Shillong, the TIPRA chief said that for the greater cause of Tripura in general, and tribals in particular, all like-minded communities must come together to achieve the goal.
"After elections, the leaders would go back to Delhi, but the backward and poverty stricken people of Tripura have to suffer. Assam, Mizoram, and other northeastern states have been developed but Tripura remains backward," Deb Barman said.
Indicating at fielding candidates in 40 of the state's total 60 seats, he is very optimistic to secure win in maximum seats in the elections, expected to be held in February.
Deb Barman's appeal to the IPFT to fight the elections together, comes after a week IPFT President and senior cabinet minister Narendra Chandra Debbarma died after a prolonged illness. Meanwhile, three of IPFT's 8 MLAs Mevar Kumar Jamatia, Brishaketu Debbarma and Dhananjoy Tripura - and BJP legislator Burba Mohan Tripura joined the TIPRA during the past several months, putting the IPFT into a serious organisational crisis.
Jamatia was the General Secretary of the IPFT and cabinet minister in the BJP-IPFT government.
Senior TIPRA leader and the TTADC's Deputy Chief Executive Member Animesh Debbarma said: "We have only one agenda, that is 'Greater Tipraland' and a constitutional solution for the Tiprasa (tribal) people living in the TTAADC area. Until this issue is resolved, we are not going to form any type of alliance with anyone. We are also protesting against the violence unleashed by the BJP."
All the major parties, including the BJP, CPI-M, Congress, and the Trinamool Congress, have been opposing the division of Tripura or creation of the TTAADC as a full-fledged state.
The TIPRA is now ruling the politically-important 30-member TTAADC, which has jurisdiction over two-third of Tripura's 10,491 square km area and is home to over 12,16,000 people, of which around 84 per cent are tribals, making the autonomous council a mini-Assembly.
The BJP, in alliance with the tribal-based party IPFT, came to power in the 2018 assembly polls thrashing the CPI-M led Left, which governed the northeastern state for 35 year in two phases (1978-1988 and 1993-2018).The BJP and IPFT secured 36 and 8 seats respectively in the 60 member house while the CPI-M bagged 16 seats.