Agartala: The Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance (TIPRA) will contest the forthcoming Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) elections, former Tripura Congress president and founder of TIPRA Pradyot Deb Barman confirmed on Friday.
Speaking in a press conference, Deb Barman said that he would wait a week for all the other regional political parties to join TIPRA or at least stand together.
“We have appealed to all the regional political parties to either come and merge with TIPRA or at least come together in a single platform so that we can fight the ADC elections together. We will wait for them for the next few days. If the response is good, it is well and fine, otherwise, we will take our party,” Deb Barman said.
He also said that the internal meeting of the TIPRA leadership has decided to field candidates in the ADC elections.
TIPRA passed a resolution stating that their demand is not against any community, rather for the welfare of the autonomous district council.
After resigning from the post of Pradesh Congress president in 2019 over differences with the higher leadership, Deb Barman started statewide agitations demanding the revision of the NRC in Tripura and opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
“Our demand for Greater Tipraland is not to victimise any community. We do not want to target any community. We want to come up with a solution for Tripuris, who are living even outside the ADC area. Some sort of rehabilitation not only in the state of Tripura but across the region should be done,” Deb Barman added.
Speaking further he said that his organisation is ready to speak with all the regional parties, and if the demands and ideologies match with each other, they would fight the ADC elections together.
“There could be differences between, but coming under the same ideology would help contest elections. Our fight would not be against any political parties as we are fighting for the rights of the people,” Deb Barman said.
He also said that TIPRA has so far held discussion with the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), IPFT-Tipraha – a faction of the ruling tribal party, Indigenous Nationalist Party of Twipra (INPT), Tipraland State Party (TSP), Tripura People’s Front (TPF) among others.
Deb Barman maintained that he would not accept financial assistance from any national political party in exchange of alliance, and said ideological concurrence were a must for any poll understanding.
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Speaking about the recent activities of the banded militant groups, Deb Barman said that political motives or frustration of tribal youth’s disappointment with the government policies might be the reason behind it.
“If the central government is willing to hold talks, I would be happy to play the role of mediator for initiating dialogue with the insurgents and try to convince them to return to the mainstream,” Deb Barman said.
Meanwhile, the High Court of Tripura on January 12 ordered the state government to conduct elections for the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) by May 17.
The TTAADC polls, earlier scheduled for May 2020, were deferred by the state election commission citing COVID-19 restrictions, following which the administration was handed over to the Tripura governor for six months, and later extended for another six months on November 17.
The TTAADC covers 68% of the total geographical area of the state and is home to over one-third of the total population of Tripura. The district council has 30 seats, of which 28 are for elected members, while two are nominated by the Tripura governor