Agartala: Amid looming uncertainty over the ruling BJP-IPFT coalition in Tripura, 10 tribal MLAs and a BJP MP have written to the party-state president seeking disassociation from IPFT while stressing that the party should fight alone in the upcoming Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (ADC) elections.
The relation between BJP and IPFT has been strained since the 2019 general elections when IPFT fought against BJP candidates in both the Lok Sabha seats despite being in the government.
Since the last year, IPFT has been trying to take over the administrative affairs of ADC which its senior partner, BJP, did not allow.
Afterwards, IPFT leaders met top leaders of BJP, including its national president J P Nadda, several times to get BJP leadership agree on a seat sharing agreement, leaving it 22 of the 28 seats in the ADC polls.
After BJP did not respond convincingly, IPFT joined hands with scion of the erstwhile royal family of Tripura Pradyot Kishore Deb Barman’s party TIPRA to fight for Greater Tipraland.
The president and general secretary of IPFT N C Debbarma and Mevar Kumar Jamatia, who are also ministers in Biplab Deb’s cabinet, announced that they were ready to sacrifice their ministerial berths to achieve their core demand, which was sharply reacted by BJP tribal wing Chief and Lok Sabha MP Rebati Tripura.
To settle the dispute, deputy chief minister Jishnu Dev Varma tried to initiate a dialogue last week but IPFT did not turn up. Rather its president NC Debbarma complained that without informing his party, BJP had gone all out campaigning about the meeting, which further complicated the situation.
The BJP’s tribal MLAs who have been seeking disassociation from IPFT, last night in a letter to BJP state President Dr Manik Saha pointed out that their party could not do enough to strengthen its organisation because of the violent activities of IPFT. Although, BJP treated IPFT as a friend, the latter did not reciprocate in the same manner, they stated.
The BJP workers have been assaulted and prevented from the organisational activities by IPFT in the hills in spite of having 10 MLAs out of the 20 tribal reserved seats. With just eight MLAs, IPFT has been challenging BJP. Now IPFT leaders, including the cabinet ministers, are making several allegations against the BJP and the Central government, the letter noted.
“The tribal youths are interested to join BJP and lend their hands to the development activities being undertaken by the Centre and the state for tribals but they could not do so because of IPFT. So, time has come to stand with our own strength and we are hopeful if BJP works alone, it can do wonders for the people,” the letter stated.
It also asked the state BJP president to attract the attention of the central leadership towards the sentiments of the indigenous people to develop a roadmap for the next course of action to make a strong footing in Tripura.