TIPRA chairman signing agreement with the president of TPF and INPT general secretary Jagadish Debbarma Credit: File Image

Agartala: For the past three years, the BJP has run a relatively stable government in Tripura. But even the most optimistic political analyst will term the relationship between the BJP and its ally, the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) as ‘frosty’.

No wonder, opposition parties are plotting their way to come to power in the state, and since state elections are still quite far, they are focusing on theupcoming elections in the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC).

They could be announced any day by the state election commission. However, unlike every election, where national parties won the district council, the indigenous regional political parties are expected to play a key role in forming the council this time.

Former Tripura Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) president and royal scion Pradyot Kishore Manikya Deb Barman in December last year announced the name of a new organisation — The Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance (TIPRA) — which initially started its journey protesting against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019.

A year after TIPRA was formed for safeguarding the rights of the indigenous people, it has now become a platform for all regional political parties to fight the polls together.

In September this year, Deb Barman wrote a letter to the indigenous political parties including the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Twipra (INPT) requesting them to unite with TIPRA in fighting for the cause of Tripura.

In a letter to Indigenous Nationalist Party of Twipra (INPT) chief Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawl, Deb Barman expressed his desire to unite the indigenous parties ahead of the ADC elections to fight for the rights of the people.

“I am proposing which may be of an interest to you- A amalgamation of INPT, TIPRA and TPF as a new renamed political party because our ideology is same and that we will detect delete and deport all illegal migrants from India along with issues of CAA, NRC,” Deb Barman wrote.

Deb Barman also said that there will be no question of an alliance between their party and any national party till 2023 assembly elections.

He also stressed on the need for greater integration of Tiprasa inhabited areas, called TIPRALAND or TIPRAHA, like the Nagas.

“If the Nagas can talk to the Indian government for a greater Nagalim which includes parts of Myanmar, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam for 22 years then why do Tiprasa’s as a historical kingdom not ask the same? Our existence as an indigenous kingdom is one of the oldest in the region, and the government of India will have to listen to our genuine desire for peace, unity and security,” Deb Barman wrote.

In October Deb Barman forged an alliance with two political parties including Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (INPT) and Tripura People’s Front (TPF) with the purpose to work for the socio-economic, cultural and political rights of the indigenous people in the state.

The parties also agreed to challenge the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) in the Court and reprise the demand for National Register of Citizen (NRC) in Tripura.

Pradyot Deb Barman flagging off motorcycle rally against CAA in February last.

In the meeting, the parties decided to form a high level united coordination committee to work together on various issues including NRC, CAA, detect, delete and deportation of illegal voters, inner line permit, empowerment of ADC under 6th Schedule through direct funding and land rights.

The TIPRA chairman in a press statement later informed that INPT, TPF and TIPRA have jointly resolved to work unconditionally without any self interest for the social, cultural, political and economic rights of the Indigenous people.

TIPRA chairman Pradyot, INPT general secretary Jagadish Deb Barma, TPF president Patal Kanya Jamatia agreed to fight together.

TPF president Patal Kanya Jamatia has been fighting against the CAA and also moved the Supreme Court seeking the implementation of National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Tripura on the lines of the one updated in neighbouring Assam to identify illegal migrants.

Without naming any organisation, Hrangkhawl also confirmed that there would be several other parties along with INPT filing the petition in SC.

On August 28, TPF president Patal Kanya Jamatia had filed a case in the apex court seeking NRC revision in Tripura. Earlier, Pradyot Debbarman, working president of the Tripura Pradesh Congress, was also reported as saying by media reports that he will file a petition in the SC for NRC in the state.

Also Read: Polls & Promises: A ground report of tribal areas in Tripura

However, hearing for the case is pending in the apex court following the outbreak of novel coronavirus.

Among the political parties, TPF is likely to play a crucial role in the upcoming elections as they have received support from the TIPRA chairman, and also due to their fight against the CAA.

Both the BJP and IPFT will contest for the first time in the district council elections. Joining programs and rallies are being organised by both the ruling parties.

Meanwhile, the opposition CPIM which ruled the district council till the end of the tenure is now preparing for the poll in the district council elections.

“In the state of Tripura apart from the semi-fascist terror, unleashed by the BJP, people are with us. Yes, during the 2018 general assembly elections the people were deceived. They had given the promises and vision document and so many things. They have been deceived and confused once, but today they have realized and despite the gundagardi hundreds of people are coming out on the streets against the government action.” CPIM leader and former member of parliament Jitendra Choudhury said.

The TTAADC consists of a 30 member council, of which 28 are elected, and the Governor nominates two members.

The TTAADC was constituted through a vote by secret ballot on January 15, 1982, and the elected members were sworn in on January 18, 1982. Subsequently, the Constitution of India was amended by a Bill, and it was unanimously passed on the floor of the Indian Parliament on August 23, 1984, for the introduction of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution in India.

The TTAADC covers 7,132.56 sq km, which is around 70 per cent of the geographical area of the state. It is also home to one-third of the state’s population.



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