Agartala: The Tripura elections are almost upon us, and every political party contesting the elections is out to prove its might. On Saturday, Chairman of Tipraha Progressive Regional Alliance (TIPRA) Pradyot Kishore Debbarman on Saturday threw a challenge before the national parties and claimed his party would not respond to lucrative offers. Stating that even after seventy years of Independence, Tripura’s indigenous people are struggling for land rights, Debbarman promised that if voted to power, he would ensure land allotment for every Tiprasa.
“I am telling you all. Go to SDM offices. Submit your application for the patta (allotment). In 2023, TIPRA will form the government and clear all the applications empowering the indigenous people of the state to enjoy their right to land. In our own land, our people are forced to lead the lives of beggars. We have land, but we don’t have allotment papers. This needs to be fixed,” said Debbarman.
The TIPRA Motha chief was addressing a huge party gathering at Swami Vivekananda stadium in Agartala. Hamro Sikkim Party chief and former skipper of the Indian Football Team Baichung Bhutia also attended the public meeting organised with upcoming state elections in mind. In his speech, Debbarman emphasised the “unity” among the tribal communities to get visible results. “Had 13 lakh Tiprasa been united, the system would have been in the hands of them. The Tiprasa do not have jobs, our schools are running short of teachers, and doctors are finding it hard to treat the patients as hospitals have no medicine supply. The root cause of all this is the lack of unity among us. If we don’t get united, the divide-and-rule policy will continue against us,” Debbarman said.
According to Debbarman, the 2023 elections should be seen as one last fight for the survival and existence of Tribal communities living in the state.
“People keep offering me powerful posts, party positions in lieu of a deal of alliance. I would like to tell them if you genuinely want to stitch an alliance with TIPRA, give something to the 13 lakh Tiprasas of the state. I would be happy to go for an understanding but for that, the rights of my people need to be protected. And, if they are so allergic to the rights of our people, we will show them the power of Thansa in the 2023 polls. They must understand the power of the Tiprasa people,” said Debbarman.
The TIPRA chief also countered the often-raised allegations of being communal. “Initially, I was branded anti-Hindu. For those who are speaking in this language, my family protected the Tripura Sundari temple. We worship Mangal Chandi but at the same time, we have given land for building churches, our family helped in the construction of Gedu Miah’s mosque, and even the Buddha Mandir (Venuvan Bihar) was opened here when we were in power. This mosque-temple politics is not our culture. It is encouraged by you. Our family helped JC Bose, and Rabindra Nath Tagore and now they call me anti-Bengali. Can anyone show me a single instance of a non-tribal person coming under attack in TTAADC areas after TIPRA came to power? We don’t want violence”, he claimed.
Debbarman also appealed to his party leaders not to sell themselves for power, post or pecuniary benefits. “Elections are around the corner. They will spend a lot now. You MDCs, MLAs, and leaders will be approached with a lot of money. Don’t sell yourselves or your Dopha (Community/Society) for money. If you betray Tiprasas, they will not spare you.”
Targeting the BJP, Debbarman said, “The law and order situation in the state is in dire straits. Rapes have become a regular affair. Before 2018, we heard several promises: Jobs in every house, jobs through missed calls, the seventh pay commission for government employees and a hike in MGNREGA wages. Nothing has happened so far.”
Speaking on the occasion, Hamro Sikkim Party leader Baichung Bhutia said, “The regional political parties have great significance. I am also leading a party in Sikkim. The regional political parties understand the local issues. These parties will stay strong with you in any situation, unlike the national parties. Bubagra (Kokborok for Maharaja) was telling me that he will contest 40 constituencies. I hope, in 2023 forms a government on his own strength, winning hundred per cent of the seats contested”.
Other senior party leaders also attended and spoke on the occasion.
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