BJP Tripura ally reaches out to Debbarman-led outfit

Tripura, Oct 18: Staring at political marginalization, the IPFT, a constituent of the BJP-led government in Tripura, has reached out to the Pradyot Kishore Debbarman-led TIPRA Motha alliance, seeking to revive the demand for a separate state for “protecting indigenous rights”.

The move comes ahead of TIPRA Motha’s scheduled three-day demonstration, towards the end of this month, involving over 1,000 supporters and workers at Jantar Mantar over the demand for a ‘Greater Tipraland’. The two parties had joined hands ahead of the tribal areas autonomous district council (TTADC) polls in April this year, but the IPFT eventually went solo, and drew a blank, while TIPRA Motha bagged 18 out of the 28 seats, and the BJP nine.

Since then, the TIPRA Motha has been rapidly expanding its base, with scores of supporters and leaders of the IPFT, including one of its MLAs, joining it. Nearly two-thirds of the state’s territory comes under the TTADC, home to the majority of the state’s indigenous communities that make up around 30 per cent of its total population.

On Saturday, the IPFT and TIPRA Motha (Tipraha Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance) held talks on a proposed joint movement committee for a “full-fledged statehood demand (Tipraland) and NRC to safeguard the native indigenous people of Tripura”.

The meeting was attended by Debbarman and IPFT general secretary Mevar Kumar Jamatia, who is a minister in the BJP-led government. Debbarman said he is treading cautiously on the IPFT’s proposal due to its “past record”.

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The two sides are also trying to work out a consensus on submitting a joint memorandum to Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

IPFT general secretary Jamatia told reporters, “The terms and references of the joint movement committee will be drawn up over the next two-three days. We will also submit a memorandum regarding our demand of statehood to the Centre this month.”

In the 2018 state polls, the IPFT, which was then spearheading the demand for a separate state, had won eight seats, and the BJP 36.