Tripura: Deposits of oppn candidates to be forfeited, says BJP Minister
Tripura Education Minister Ratan Lal Nath

Agartala: Exuding confidence, Tripura Education Minister Ratan Lal Nath on Saturday said opposition parties would face massive defeat in the ensuing by-elections and that their security deposits would be forfeited in all the four constituencies.

Addressing a BJP joining programme at Simna assembly constituency, Nath said, “On the day of elections, the real strength of the BJP will be before all. Lotus will bloom in all the poll-bound constituencies, and in the 2023 assembly elections BJP’s score will be 60 out of 60.”

During the joining programme, Mangal Debbarma, a senior leader of the IPFT, joined the BJP along with 1,960 supporters from different parties.

Debbarma, who was appointed assistant general secretary and spokesperson in the previous executive committee of IPFT, severed ties with the party as he was sidelined by the party ranks.

Speculations were rife about Debbarma’s political fate, as he distanced himself from IPFT’s top leadership and eventually joined the saffron party.

The development came as a major setback for the IPFT which is already in a shambles amid leadership turf war. Once a close aide of IPFT’s supremo NC Debbarma, Debbarma played a crucial role in shaping the separate-state movement.

On being asked about the issue, he said, “We have been fighting for the separate state demand for over a decade. We gained public support and came to power in alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party. I have realized that the whole concept of ‘state within state’ seems bleak and impossible. It is better to be a part of the party and fight for real causes like development of indigenous-dominated areas.” Debbarma, however, declined to make any statement on the IPFT crisis.

The newcomers were given a rousing reception by Education Minister Ratan Lal Nath, MP from East Tripura assembly constituency Rebati Tripura, Minister Ram Pada Jamatia and other senior party leaders.

Nath said, “I don’t want to name anyone. The elected MLA from this constituency avoids going to assembly. People shall never forgive him. The demand for a separate state is also not new in Tripura, but the dream did not come true. Those who are still spearheading movements putting forth the demand for a separate state must realize it.”

Replying to a query on wheather Debbarma’s joining is a sign of the BJP’s tactic to weaken its own ally, MP Rebati Tripura said, “He has willingly joined the party. He served in a significant position for the IPFT, which indicates that he is politically mature enough. We have welcomed him and he has informed us that several leaders of TIPRA, IPFT and CPI-M are willing to join the BJP. All the leaders could not join the event as IPFT and TIPRA supporters prevented their workers.”

On being asked as to why people are eager to join the BJP, he said, “After the BJP came to power in Tripura, political affiliations never acted as yardstick for getting benefits of government schemes. The reflection is before all today as thousands of people are joining the BJP.” 

Notably, in 2018, IPFT candidate Brishaketu Debbarma won from the Simna assembly constituency. But, last year he quit the party and joined TIPRA motha, led by royal secion Pradyot Kishore Debbarman. However, despite repeated petitions by the IPFT, hearings on Debbarma’s anti-defection proceedings are still due.

Simna is located under West Tripura District, around 20 kilometer from Agartala city.

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