Cabinet expansion: Tripura's Pratima Bhoumik, 2 others from NE among new faces

Agartala, Apr 25 (PTI) Union minister Pratima Bhoumik on Monday claimed that TIPRA Motha has been trying to divide Tripura in the name of attaining Greater Tipraland’.

The Tripura Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance or TIPRA Motha, a regional political party led by royal scion Pradyot Kishore Debbarma, seeks a separate state for the indigenous people of Tripura.

Union minister of State for Social Empowerment and Justice Bhoumik said, the so-called Bubagra’ (ruler) has been misleading the indigenous people by injecting the Greater Tipraland’ concept when the Biplab Kumar Deb government has been making all efforts to develop tribal areas.

Addressing a party programme at Mandwai in West Tripura district, the Union minister claimed that there have been persistent efforts to stall development works in tribal areas to defame the BJP- led government.

You are acting as the leader of the people who believe in terror tactics. Nobody gives you the license to unleash terror and the people are ready to give a befitting reply, she said without naming whom she meant by you’.

Alleging that TIPRA Motha has been working to help the CPI(M), Bhoumik said, Why didn’t you raise Greater Tipraland demand before the BJP came to power? Your father (Kirit Bikram Mankiya Bahadur) and mother (Maharani Bibhu Kumari Devi) were MPs from the state when Congress ruled the country. You were a big leader in the Congress before floating TIPRA Motha. Why are you raising the Greater Tipraland’ demand now?

It is because you want to help the CPI(M) that had ruled the state for long but did nothing for the tribals of the state .

The BJP-IPFT alliance came to power in the north-eastern state in 2018 by ending 25 years of CPI(M)-led Left Front rule.

Highlighting the BJP’s initiatives for giving due respect to the erstwhile royal family of Tripura and the indigenous people, the Union minister said it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had renamed Agartala Airport as Maharaja Bir Bikram Airport after the saffron party came to power.

The Biplab Kumar Deb government has decided to celebrate Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya Bahadur’s birth anniversary in a befitting manner all over the state. Now, you want to divide the state by raising the slogan of thansa’ (unity) among the tribal people , she said.

The princely state, which was ruled by tribal kings for about 500 years, joined the Indian union in 1949.

Asserting that the people will give a strong message to the ‘Greater Tipraland’ demand in the 2023 Assembly elections, the Union minister claimed no political force would be able to oust the BJP government in Tripura for the next 50 years.

The TIPRA Motha swept the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) elections held in April last year, winning 18 of the 28 seats over the Greater Tipraland’ demand in a direct contest with the ruling BJP-IPFT alliance.

Greater Tipraland’ is essentially an extension of ruling partner Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura’s demand for Tipraland’, a separate state for tribals by carving out of the TTAADC area.

However, the new demand seeks to include every tribal living inside and outside the TTAADC area.

The Greater Tipraland’ idea does not restrict only to Tripura and seeks to also include Tripuris living in Assam, Mizoram, and Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh.

However, the royal scion has never clarified if his demand for Greater Tipraland’ seeks to redraw the territorial boundaries of Tripura or whether the proposed state’s map also includes parts of Assam, Mizoram, and Bangladesh.

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