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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Junior ally in Tripura government announces 1st list of candidates for tribal council polls, BJP miffed

Just two days back, the IPFT, in a surprise move, chose to keep away from a proposed joint rally with Tipraha Indigenous Peoples Regional Alliance (TIPRA), the font helmed by Debbarma, leaving him teary-eyed on stage.

Written by Debraj Deb | Agartala |
March 8, 2021 12:11:26 am
Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), the junior ally in the BJP-led government, rolled out its first of candidates for the April 4 ADC election. (Representational/Express Photo)

Days after forging an alliance with the tribal front launched by Tripura scion and former state Congress chief Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debbarma for the upcoming polls to the autonomous administrative council, the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), the junior ally in the BJP-led government, rolled out its first of candidates for the April 4 ADC election.

And, in an intriguing subtext that may hold significance ahead of the polls, the IPFT did not leave word or hold discussions with either of its allies before coming out with its partial candidate list.

Just two days back, the IPFT, in a surprise move, chose to keep away from a proposed joint rally with Tipraha Indigenous Peoples Regional Alliance (TIPRA), the font helmed by Debbarma, leaving him teary-eyed on stage.

It is learnt that the party still hasn’t clarified if it would continue to partner the BJP in the tribal council polls and their first list didn’t have any reference to sharing of seats with the saffron party.

“We have released our first list of candidates following several meetings of our central election committee. The committee scrutinised applications of prospective candidates and gave us a shortlist,” IPFT chief NC Debbarma said at a press conference late on Sunday evening.

Party general secretary Mevar Kumar Jamatia said the party has put out a list of 18 candidates and a decision on the rest will be announced at the earliest. “Our doors are open for discussions. We are ready to ally with anyone who agrees to our demands,” he said.

The BJP, which hasn’t come out with its list of candidates for the ADC polls yet, made its misgivings known over its junior partner’s move. Party spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharjee said, “They have gone against the goodwill on the basis of which the alliance was formed by declaring its candidates. They did the same thing ahead of the Lok Sabha election. However, we are willing to talk.”

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Earlier on Saturday, CPI(M), the main Opposition player in the state, also declared its list of candidates, half of whom are first-timers.

As per the declared schedule, voting would be conducted at 1,244 polling stations across 28 seats of the district council.

Indigenous people, who comprise a third of the state’s population of 37 lakh, represent 18 tribal communities. Most of them reside in areas which are within the administrative ambit of the autonomous council. The TTAADC has its sway over 68 per cent of the state’s geographical area, which comes to 7,132.56 sq kms. It was founded on January 18, 1982.

The state issued a notification in March last year, announcing deferment of the tribal council polls in view of surging Covid-19 cases at the time. The tenure of the last council ended on May 17, 2020. The state cabinet decided to vest interim charge of the body in the Governor before extending its tenure by another six months.

On January 12, the government filed an affidavit before Tripura High Court, stating that the TTAADC polls would be held by May 17, this year.

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