The Tipraha Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance (TIPRA) Motha, a newly floated political outfit by royal scion Pradyot Kishore Debbarma, registered a landslide win in the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) elections Saturday, bagging 18 out of 28 seats. The ruling BJP managed to win only 9 seats while its ally IPFT drew a blank. The council consists of 30 seats, of which 28 are elected and two nominated by the Governor.
The official announcement of the elections results is yet to be made.
Opposition CPI(M), which held fort in the tribal council for last three terms, was reduced to zero along with the Congress and BJP’s ally IPFT. An independent candidate emerged victorious in the remaining one seat.
TIPRA Motha is a forum of TIPRA, Tipraland State Party (TSP), IPFT Tipraha and other tribal bodies with INPT, a major tribal party.
Pradyot Kishore himself won from Takarjala-Jampuijala ADC constituency. Other senior leaders who contested in his support — TIPRA leader Ananta Debbarma, Animesh Debbarma and ally INPT’s general secretary Jagadish Debbarma — emerged victorious.
Pradyot’s party contested the ADC polls over the demand of Greater Tipraland, a hypothetical administrative authority governing Tripuri tribals in Tripura, Assam, Mizoram and parts of Bangladesh.
While good governance was the major poll plank of the BJP, CPI(M) fought the polls for “rescuing democracy”.
Before the final figures were out, Kishore expressed confidence of winning the polls but said his party would work together with all Tiprasa (peope of Tripura), irrespective of whether they voted for him or not.
“There will be no violence against those who will lose the elections. I want to appeal through media to keep peace. We are Tiprasa and they are also Tiprasa. After election, we will bring them to TIPRA Motha and will make our thancha (unity) bigger,” he said.
CPI(M) leader and former ADC chairperson Radhacharan Debbarma admitted defeat and said the results reflected “people’s victory”. “People have exercised their franchise. It’s ok, we lost the poll. We will analyse what led to the failure,” he said.
Radhacharan further said the voters used the election to voice protest against BJP ‘misrule’ in last three years.
BJP spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharjee said his party is “not disillusioned” with the results. “We didn’t even field enough candidates. We are not unhappy with results. But our alliance partner will discuss and tell about their performance. We cannot comment on that,” he said.
The BJP had contested in 11 seats while IPFT contested in 16 seats with “friendly fights” in three constituencies.
The ADC polls were supposed to be held by May 17 last year. However, the elections were postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic and charge of the tribal council was handed over to Governor RK Bais for the time being. The polls were finally held on April 6 this year with 85.14 per cent turnout amidst reports of scattered violence.
Formed in 1982, Tripura ADC is spread across nearly 70 percent of the state’s geographical area and houses one third of the state’s population, from 19 tribal communities.