Agartala: A month after their alliance won the state tribal council polls, the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Twipra (INPT), the oldest tribal party in the state, has merged with the Tipraha Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance (TIPRA) to achieve their “common goal of Greater Tipraland”.
The merger was announced by TIPRA chairman Pradyot Kishore Deb Barman here on Thursday.
The TIPRA and the INPT had contested the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) polls as alliance partners on April 6 and won 18 out of the total 28 seats, the PTI reported.
The BJP secured nine seats and the other seat was won by an independent candidate.
In the 30-member tribal council, elections are held for 28 seats, and representatives in the remaining two seats are nominated by the governor on the advice of the state government.
TIPRA chairman Pradyot Kishore Deb Barman told reporters, the merger was a “post-poll unification to achieve the common goal of forming Greater Tipraland.
“This merger is for the unity of the entire tribal community of the state. We want other tribal parties also to unite to achieve their common goal.”
Deb Barman, who was the state unit president of Congress, quit the party in September 2019, citing differences with the high command. A month later, he announced the name of his new outfit – TIPRA, which was initially a social organisation but in 2020, was turned into a political party.
“Even six months ago there were seven to eight tribal parties in Tripura, but now barely one or two parties are left outside the fold of TIPRA. This is historic as the oldest political party in Tripura has decided to merge for the interest of our combined goal of Greater Tipraland and to work as a single entity,” Deb Barman, a scion of the former royal family of Tripura, added.
Tripura was ruled by the Manikya kings for over 500 years before it merged with the Indian Union on October 15, 1949.
INPT president and former rebel B K Hrangkhawl said that the issue of merger with the TIPRA was extensively discussed in the party, which finally concluded that if the INPT merged with the TIPRA under the leadership of Pradyot Kishore Deb Barman, the community would be united for a common goal.
“There was a deliberate attempt to ostracise us in the Communist regime. Steps were not taken for the protection of Kokborok, our mother language, and our culture,” the INPT chief alleged.
“Greater Tipraland” is an extension of the IPFTs demand of Tipraland, a separate state for the tribals of Tripura.
The new demand seeks to include every tribal person living in indigenous areas or villages outside TTADC in the proposed model, including in areas even outside Tripura.