Agartala: Two decades old Indigenous Nationalist Party of Twipra (INPT) has dissolved its identity and merged with newly formed Tipraha Indigenous Progressive Religion Alliance (TIPRA) of royal scion Pradyot Kishore Deb Barman on Saturday.
Having been at the top as Chairman, Pradyot nominated veteran tribal leader and INPT Chief Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawal as President of TIPRA.
The INPT was formed in 2002 as a merger of a major faction of Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) and 35 years old Tripura Upajati Juba Samiti under the headship of Hrangkhawal. The INPT was the main anti-left force in tribal areas of the state until revival of IPFT before 2009 Loksabha election under the leadership of present chief and Revenue Minister of Biplab Kr Deb government N C Debbarma.
Before 2018 Sssembly elections, BJP had discussion with both IPFT and INPT for forging alliance and at the final stage of deal, IPFT opposed to go for alliance if BJP accept INPT. The IPFT had much support based for its popular slogan of separate Tipraland for the tribal elevating the status of Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (ADC). Naturally, BJP opted IPFT as an alliance partner rejecting INPT.
Ahead of last ADC poll, INPT had announced to fight together with Congress against BJP-IPFT combine. Meantime, royal scion Pradyot has turned his NGO Tipra Motha to a political platform to fight in ADC elections attempting to unite all tribal parties into a single entity. Accordingly, INPT has joined the platform and IPFT also joined with TIPRA. However, a fortnight after IPFT stepped back and announced to continue its alliance with BJP.
TIPRA and INPT won the ADC election in April this year but veteran leader Bijoy Hrangkhawal lost the battle of ballot. Pradyot then attempted to provide some advisory position in the elected council but it did not happen because of administrative difficulties. To use the experience, knowledge and popularity of Hrangkhawal among both tribal and non-tribals, Pradyot managed to merge INPT with TIPRA keeping Hrangkhawal at the top of the organisation.
Pradyot told media that he would remain as Chairman of TIPRA but organisational functioning and political strategies of the party would be carried out under the leadership of Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawal. He also stated that BJP before last assembly election had announced to transform ADC into an autonomous state council under Article 244 (A) of the constitution but after getting in the power BJP has forgotten the commitment although tribals voted them to power in 19 of the 20 scheduled tribe reserved seats of 60 members Assembly.
Accusing the state government, Pradyot said that during 25 years of left front and three and half years rule of BJP-IPFT, ADC didn’t enjoy the autonomy as laid down in the sixth schedule of the constitution. The administrative interference and undue control over ADC by the state government have ultimately frustrated the mandate of constitutional provisions.
He said TIPRA led council of ADC would release a white paper on finance on June 24 on the first session of the newly formed council, which will give details of the funds received and spent over the years and added, “We will make it public on how much funds was received from which departments and how much is spent for the salaries, education, social welfare, fisheries and other development and infrastructure creation purpose.”
Meanwhile, tribal welfare minister of Biplab Kr Deb’s cabinet and General Secretary of IPFT Mevar Kr Jamatia wrote to Union home minister Amit Shah demanding to place the Constitution (125th Amendment) Bill, 2019 in the upcoming session Parliament to ensure the empowerment of ADC and development of indigenous population.
He reminded in the letter, “I must mention here that we came to power with these commitments to the indigenous people of Tripura. Considering the sentiments of the people, the issue may be given utmost priority.” Also, demanded to sanction the projects of Rs 8,389.71 Cr sent by the state government for development of tribal areas and immediately release of the report of the high-level committee, which was constituted for socio-economic, cultural and linguistic development of tribals as per the pre-alliance agreement of BJP and IPFT.