BJP plans to expand in Tripura tribal areas

AGARTALA, DEC 16 (IANS) | Publish Date: 12/16/2020 11:16:15 AM IST

The BJP has dumped its old ally in the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) polls in Assam and ignored its partner’s willingness to share seats in the upcoming polls in Tripura tribals’ autonomous body aiming to strengthen its domination on its own in the tribal areas of northeastern region, say political observers. 

IPFT president and Revenue Minister Narendra Chandra Debbarma said that despite their repeated appeal, the BJP leadership in Tripura and at the center did not yet disclose the seat sharing pattern and ratio in the upcoming polling to the TTAADC (Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council), which is now under the Governor’s Rule.

“After getting no response from the State leadership, delegations led by our party’s General Secretary and Forest Minister Mevar Kumar Jamatia went to Delhi three times and urged the BJP’s Central leaders including its president J.P. Nadda to finalise the seat sharing for the TTAADC polls. But, unfortunately, the BJP leadership remained quiet on our repeated requests,” said Debbarma. 

In contrast, the BJP leaders already declared that they would put up candidates in majority of the TTAADC’s 28 seats. The BJP, in alliance with the tribal-based IPFT, handed a humiliating defeat to the Communist Party of India-Marxist led Left Front in the 2018 Assembly polls after 25 years. In the 60-member Tripura Assembly, the BJP won 36 seats and the IPFT eight, while the CPI-M, the dominant party of the Left Front, secured 16 seats. The IPFT has two ministers in the BJP led government headed by Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb.

The IPFT has been agitating since 2009 for creation of a separate state by upgrading the TTAADC, which has jurisdiction over two-thirds of Tripura’s 10,491 sq km area which is home to over 12,16,000 people, 90 per cent of whom are tribals. 

The politically important TTAADC, which was mostly governed by the CPI-M led Left Front, was constituted under the sixth Schedule of the Constitution in June 1985. Political commentator and writer Sanjib Deb said that BJP may execute the BTC poll strategy in the TTAADC elections. “After establishing its domination among the non-tribals in the northeastern region, the BJP is trying to strengthen its base in the tribal areas too. 

The BJP is trying to utilise royal scion PradyotBikramManikya Deb Barman as the tribals have their affinity to the former royal dynasty until the erstwhile princely ruled Tripura merged with the Indian union in October 1949,” said Deb.

Besides Assam and Tripura, the ruling BJP has been trying to gain its political base among the tribals in Manipur too. The party has recently wrested four Assembly seats from the Congress in Manipur where by-elections to five Assembly seats were held last month.


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