Agartala: Even as the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council elections inch closer, it seems the recent bonhomie between the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) and the Tiparaha Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance (TIPRA) may have been superficial.
The IPFT’s absence at the recent TIPRA rally in Bishramganj has led to rumours that all is not well among the new allies. On February 19, the IPFT allied with TIPRA and announced they would contest the district council election together, keeping thanca (unity) between the regional parties.
TIPRA and the IPFT also organised a show of strength at Khumulwng, the headquarters of Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) on February 24.
Speaking with EastMojo, TIPRA general secretary and spokesperson Animesh Debbarma, said IPFT leaders were invited by the TIPRA chairman to participate in the joint rally.
“We invited IPFT chief Narendra Chandra Debbarma and other leaders like they did on February 24 in Khumulwng. However, nobody from IPFT turned up at the rally on Friday. The TIPRA chief will decide on what needs to be done,” Debbarma said.
He also said that the two parties are yet to finalise seat-sharing as the IPFT leaders have not turned up for the meeting.
“It seems that they don’t want unity even though the parties signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) last month. As per the agreement between the two parties, none of us can forge alliances or hold talks with other parties,” Debbarma added.
IPFT assistant general secretary and spokesperson Mangal Debbarma said his party is holding a meeting to decide on the seat-sharing and alliance with other political parties who have offered them seats.
Reacting to the situation, BJP state spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharjee said that the BJP had nothing to do with the IPFT’s decision.
“Our doors are still open for the alliance partner IPFT to hold talks on seat-sharing. We have told them we would not give them majority seats under any situation,” Bhattacharjee said.
Deb Barman gets emotional
TIPRA chairman Pradyot Kishore Deb Barman got emotional while addressing the public rally, and said he would answer those who have betrayed him in time.
Overwhelmed with the large crowd gathered in support of TIPRA at Jagaibari in the Pramod Nagar area, Deb Barman broke down and was seen wiping tears on the stage.
Hitting out at the East Tripura MP Rebati Tripura for repeated attacks on him, Deb Batman said the power that Rebati enjoys is by the grace of his party.
“Mayung Yukulonga Sui Songo,” Deb Barman said in Kokborok language, meaning, ‘The elephant keeps walking as the dogs keep barking.’
“The supporters of TIPRA were stopped from attending the rally at Ampi, Teliamura, Khumulwng, Takarjala, Mirza and Kathalia by those who are doing politics in his name”, Deb Barman said.
Also read: Tripura: TIPRA, IPFT’s joint show of strength ahead of polls
However, he maintained that the demand for the ‘Greater Tipraland’ is for the Tiprasa people. It includes all communities like Bengali, Muslims, Manipuri and others.
Indigenous Nationalist Party of Twipra (INPT) chief Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhwal was present in the rally at Bishramganj on Friday and will contest the poll with TIPRA.
According to the published final list of voters on February 23, there are 8,65,041 voters in the district council. Of these, 4,36,548 are male voters, and 4,28,490 are female voters and three other voters.
There are 1,244 polling stations across 28 seats of the district council.
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.