Leaders of BJP’s Tripura ally IPFT join Tipra Motha ahead of assembly polls
Agartala, July 2: A section of leaders of the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), an ally of the BJP in the North-eastern state, on Saturday defected to the Tripra Motha, a regional political party, at a function here ahead of the Assembly elections due next year.
However, all seven MLAs, including two ministers, of the party did not jump ship. Leaders of the two factions of the party are among the legislators. Another MLA has resigned from the Assembly last year.
IPFT vice-president Jibanjoy Reang, general secretary Dhanajoy Tripura, assistant general secretary Mintu Debbarma and women’s wing head Rekha Koloi were among the leaders who, along with their supporters, switched sides to the Tipra Motha.
Headed by royal scion Pradyot Kishore Debbarma, the Tipra Motha seeks a separate state for the indigenous people of Tripura.
Welcoming the newcomers, Pradyot Kishore Debbarma said this joining programme is about sending a message to the people for unity. People are always bigger than the party. Let’s be together and speak in one voice in Delhi to push a constitutional solution to the Greater Tipraland demand, he said.
Greater Tipraland’ is an extension of the IPFT’s earlier demand for Tipraland’, a separate state for tribals by carving out the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) area. The proposed Greater Tipraland’ state would include tribal majority areas of Tripura, Assam, Mizoram, and even Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh.
The TTAADC comprises two-thirds of Tripura’s territory and is home to the tribals who constitute a third of the state’s estimated 40 lakh population. The Tipra Motha, formed early last year, swept the TTAADC elections held in April 2021, winning 18 of the 28 seats over the Greater Tipraland’ demand in a direct contest with the ruling BJP-IPFT alliance.
The IPFT had on June 25 announced that the party will merge with the Tipra Motha on July 2.
The merging has not been materialised. Around 70 per cent of IPFT leaders and workers today joined the Tipra Motha, IPFT assistant general secretary Mintu Debbarma said.
However, he asserted that those who remained under the IPFT flag will be joining hands with Tipra Motha shortly.
Mintu Debbarma also claimed alleged that veteran leader NC Debbarma illegally removed Mevar Kumar Jamatia, who was elected as the party president as per the IPFT constitution in April, and declared himself as the chief.
The two factions of the party are led by NC Debbarma and Jamatia.
Party sources said that Jamatia and several other MLAs will join the Tipra Motha sometime later.
In Tripura, a legislator needs to complete four-and-a-half years to get pension and other benefits and the current assembly is not that old.
NC Debbarma and the BJP did not attach much importance to the IPFT’s announcement on June 25 that it will merge with the Tipra Motha.
The IPFT initially had eight MLAs but one of them has resigned from the Assembly a year ago but it is yet to be accepted.
In the elections for the 60-member Tripura Assembly, the demand for a separate state may influence results in 20 seats where tribal people hold considerable sway.(PTI)