Responding to the influential tribal-based party Tipraha Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance’s (TIPRA) appeal, the ruling BJP’s ally, the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) agreed to hold discussions on contesting the February 16 Assembly election together for the all-round development and protection of the tribals.
IPFT’s working President and state minister Prem Kumar Reang, in a letter to TIPRA supremo and former royal scion Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barman, said: “I express my sincere gratitude for the proposal to unite IPFT and TIPRA in any form for solving the question of survivability and existence of the Tiprasas with an endeavour of achieving our demand for Tipraland and Greater Tipraland state.”
TIPRA sources said that the leaders of the two parties would soon meet and discuss the strategies to contest the elections together.
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 population.
“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 fielding candidates in 40 of the state’s total 60 seats, he is very optimistic to secure a win in maximum seats in the elections.
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 elevation of the TTAADC areas by granting of ‘Greater Tipraland State’ under Article 2 and 3 of the Constitution.
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).