Agartala: In a setback to the Bharatiya Janata Party, its ally, the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), released its first phase candidate list for 18 seats in the district council election.
The 30-member (two nominated by the Governor) Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) will vote on April 4, and the counting will be on April 8.
Addressing a press conference, the IPFT chief and Tripura revenue minister Narendra Chandra Debbarma said that the state election committee of the IPFT decided to release the first list of 18 candidates.
Both the IPFT and BJP are partners in the coalition government. However, the decision of contesting announcing the first list of 18 candidates has shocked the saffron party.
“We have prepared a list of candidates after several rounds of meetings of the central election committee. The committee has gone through every bio-data and application received by the party office. We have shortlisted the best possible names,” Debbarma said.
Among the 18, two are women. The party picked 17 new faces this time. The only candidate who contested earlier is Krishna Kanta Jamatia, who would represent the Killa-Bagma constituency this year.
Speaking about the seat-sharing deal with the alliance partner BJP, Mevar Kumar Jamatia, general secretary and tribal welfare minister, said the dialogue would continue between the parties.
“The doors are open for discussion on seat sharing. Whoever agrees with our demand, we would contest with that party in the ADC elections”, Jamatia said.
However, he maintained that there would be no possibilities of withdrawing the candidate names under any circumstance since they have already been announced.
The list also includes Gita Debbarma, wife of Mevar Kumar Jamatia, who recently applied for voluntary retirement from service to the Tripura government.
BJP spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharjee said announcing the list of candidates alone and claiming to be still in talks with the alliance partner does not make any sense.
“We have said on several occasions that seat-sharing deals must be through discussion, but what they did was totally against the goodwill of the alliance”, Bhattacharjee said.
He also said that this is not the first time when IPFT decided to contest the poll alone.
“Earlier, in the Lok Sabha election in 2019, IPFT decided to contest the election alone. We are still ready to talk and make the right decision for the welfare of the people”, Bhattacharjee added.