Agartala, Feb 19, 2021, ENEWSTIME Desk
In a significant political re-alignment in Tripura ahead of District Council Election, BJP’s alliance partner in the State, IPFT has officially declared to side with TIPRA (Tipraha Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance) of Pradyot Kishore Debbarma in Agartala on Friday even as ‘coalition with BJP shall go on’.
At this point, the re-alignment effectively meant that IPFT along with TIPRA would contest against BJP in forthcoming Tripura Tribal Area autonomous District Council (TTAADC) Polls. Notably, IPFT, remaining alliance partner in BJP-IPFT Government, also fought against BJP in last Lok Sabha election. The difference is that it went solo against BJP and other parties in last LS Polls while it is now gearing up to face the Saffron challenge in unison with other regional parties under the umbrella of TIPRA.
Although TIPRA initially began its activities as a social organization meant for the welfare of indigenous people of Tripura whom they address as Tiprasa, later it converted itself into a full –fledged political party and engineered merger of some smaller political outfits having less presence in the TTAADC areas such as TSP (Tipraland State Party) and IPFT Tipraha.
On Friday, in two separate press conferences, Chairman of TIPRA Pradyot Kishore Debbarman announced willingness to fight ensuing District Council Polls together under the new alliance that he had stitched with a new demand of 'greater Tipraland'.
Leaders of TIPRA, IPFT, TSP and other political parties that are constituents of the greater alliance responding to Pradyot’s call of “Thansa (Unity)” on Friday held a joint press briefing at the royal palace followed by a signing of memorandum of understanding between the parties. The INPT leaders were however absent in the press conferences and their stand in this regard was not clear as yet.
IPFT Supremo NC Debbarma, while speaking on new alliance said, “The IPFT has been spearheading the movement for Tipraland since the beginning and now TIPRA has also come up with the similar demand. So, we have agreed to fight the ensuing elections together. We have signed a memorandum of understanding to fight the polls”.
IPFT General Secretary Mevar Kumar Jamatia on being asked about the status of alliance with the BJP, said, the alliance with BJP shall go on. There will be no impact of this as we have already fought the Lok Sabha elections in spite of being in the alliance at the state assembly, he added.
Mevar also expressed his disappointment over the unprecedented delay in the publication of the high-level modality committee report and several other issues. Both the parties have also called a joint public rally in Khumulwng the TTAADC headquarters of Tripura on February 24 next.
Pradyot said, “Now 95 percent of the regional political parties have joined the call of unity. In this 71 year old history of the state, divisions within us have prevented the goal of universal development. All the leaders have agreed that we must get united on the issue of ‘greater Tipraland’ and other relevant issues that require urgent redresses”.
He said, this alliance does not stand for seat sharing but on the concept of ideology of ‘greater Tipraland’.
Explaining the new term coined by him, he said, “Greater Tipraland is a vision goes beyond any boundaries. People who are living outside the territory of TTAADC areas also must have a Development Council where they can go for their problems. Tripuri people who are living beyond the borders of the state like lower parts of Assam and even in Bangladesh’s Khagrachari, they must have a body where they can go with their problems. Whatever may be the issue, be it social or cultural, there must be an umbrella body and ‘greater Tipraland’ is just that”.
He had also compared the vision of greater Tipraland with “Biswa Bangla'', “Greater Mizo Council” and “Bodoland Territorial Council”.
He later said that the TTAADC elections would be a referendum on whether the people living in the TTAADC want a united front that long for a ‘greater Tipraland’ or not.