After months of political tussle, the ruling allies in Tripura — the BJP and the IPTF — on Tuesday night announced to jointly contest the April 4 elections to the politically significant Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC).
The 28-member TTAADC, which is considered a mini-state Assembly in terms of political significance, has a jurisdiction of over two-thirds of Tripura’s 10,491 sq km area and is home to over 12,16,000 people, 90 per cent of which are tribals.
BJP state President Manik Saha, party leader and Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma, Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura’s (IPFT) President Narendra Chandra Debbarma and General Secretary Mevar Kumar Jamatiya said in a joint media briefing that both the parties would put up candidates in 14 seats each, but in three more seats, the tribal-based party would nominate candidates for a friendly contest with the saffron party.
IPFT leaders Debbarma and Jamatia, both ministers in the BJP-led Council of Ministers headed by Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, had on Sunday night unilaterally announced the names of candidates for 18 of the 28 elective seats of TTAADC, creating uncertainty over the future of the ruling alliance.
For the past few months, the leaders of the BJP and the IPFT have acused each other for violating the “Joot Dharma” (coalition principles).
The IPFT and the BJP had separately contested the Lok Sabha elections in 2019, with both parties putting up candidates in the state’s two Lok Sabha constituencies, getting engaged in accusations and counter accusations.
In alliance with the IPFT, the BJP won the Assembly polls three years ago in 2018, ousting the 25-year uninterrupted rule of the CPM-led Left Front.
The BJP and the IPFT had secured 36 and 8 seats, respectively, in the 60-member Assembly while the remaining 16 seats were bagged by the CPM.
The TTAADC was constituted under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution in June 1985 to promote the socio-economic and traditional culture of the tribals, who constitute one-third of Tripura’s four million population.