AgartalaUnion Minister of State Social Justice and Empowerment Pratima Bhoumik on Monday took a jibe at TIPRA chairman Pradyot Kishore Debbarman’s call for “Thansa (Kokborok word for Unity)” and called his politics ‘confused in nature.’

Addressing a joining programme in the Killa area under the Gomati district, over 60 km from Agartala city, Bhoumik also sought a definition of Debbarman’s “Greater Tipraland” demand.

“What is Greater Tipraland? As I understand, greater means bigger but Tripura’s geographical area is limited. You can’t expand it, and even if you want the international borders with Bangladesh shall put a stop to the expansion drive. I am curious to know about your idea of Greater Tipraland in detail,” said Bhoumik.

The Union Minister also drew a reference to Pradyot’s “Puila Jati Ulo Party” call that she said faded away as soon as the Lok Sabha elections were over. “During the Lok Sabha elections, he coined the slogan of Puila Jati Ulo Party which translates to community first party next. The slogan ran out of steam as soon as the elections were over. Now when the BJP-IPFT government is trying to fulfil the aspirations of tribal communities who are deprived for years, he has brought another slogan from his coffer which is Thansa or Unity. But, his Thansa is not for all; it is only limited to the Tiprasa people,” she said.

Terming his politics parochial and intended towards division, she said, in the name of Thansa he has pitted the Tiprasa people against themselves.

“A reign of terror was unleashed across the hilly areas after the self-styled leader of Tiprasa people bagged majority in the ADC polls. I have personally met over 300 violence-stricken families. They had explained to us how people lost their sources of income in the form of livestock, fish in ponds and rubber gardens. Houses were ransacked and women were not spared,” she claimed.

Branding TIPRA as a shelter house of CPIM cadres, she said, “All the mafia elements belonging to the CPIM party got a safe shelter in the TIPRA. Those who made every attempt to deprive the poor Janajati people are now appointed to plum posts of TIPRA. He often says CPIM did nothing for the Tiprasa people, but the fact is when Left was in power, he was nowhere to be found.”

Bhoumik also alleged that the TIPRA-led TTAADC administration is responsible for large scale corruption and slowdown in government projects.

“The leaders of TIPRA do not want development. They only understand the language of money. ONGC is working in TTAADC areas for everyone but TIPRA needs money for that. They are now asking for a share in all development works that are being undertaken in the TTAADC areas,” Bhoumik claimed.

Emphasising the development works of the Tripura government, she said, around 2 lakh PMAY houses were distributed and 63 per cent of the beneficiaries are SC and ST. Water connectivity works in the hilly areas are progressing on a war footing. About 92,000 more houses are coming to the state and the maximum beneficiaries belong to tribal-dominated areas. It is this government that settled the 24 years long Bru imbroglio and gave them a permanent settlement, she added saying that PM Modi’s slogan of “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas” is being implemented here in letter and spirit.

“We don’t believe in parochial politics. We give respect to Maharaja Bir Bikram who envisioned the modern Tripura but we have reservations about any divisive campaign. We believe in development. From 18 new Ekalavya schools to the Har Ghar Jal campaign, everything is done for the welfare of indigenous people,” said Bhoumik.

During the meeting, more than 300 voters of 79 families joined BJP leaving TIPRA. Newly-appointed BJP vice president Patal Kanya Jamatia and other senior leaders also remained present in the meeting.  

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