Updated: March 5, 2018 5:52:06 pm
Deepening fissures within the BJP-IPFT alliance, Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura chief N C Debbarma on Monday said his party will support the new government from outside if it was not given ‘respectable’ positions in the ministry.
Clarifying the meaning of ‘respectable’ positions, IPFT chief Debbarma stated it meant proportionate representation of IPFT MLAs in the Cabinet and allocation of major departments to them. “There is an apprehension that we may not be given proper representation in the Cabinet and important portfolios would not be allocated to us as the BJP, the major constituent, alone secured 35 seats,” Debbarma was quoted as by PTI.
The latest development comes a day after the BJP’s tribal ally demanded that the next Chief Minister of the state should be a tribal. IPFT demand came even as Tripura BJP chief Biplab Deb, touted to be the next CM, took out a victory road show through his Assembly constituency, Banamalipur in Agartala, accompanied by his wife and thousands of supporters.
Handing a crushing a defeat to the Manik Sarkar-led Left Front, who had been ruling the northeastern state for 25 years, the BJP and IPFT combine swept to power in the state winning 43 out of the 59 seats for which elections were held. The BJP had won 35 and IPFT 8 seats.
Debbarma further said the BJP and IPFT had fought the elections in alliance with the sole aim of defeating the CPI-M and it was achieved. “Now if we are not given respectable positions, we would support the government from outside,” he said.
On Sunday, at a meeting at the press club, Debbarma had said, “The outcome of the elections, the thumping majority that the BJP and IPFT got, would have simply not been possible without the tribal vote. We won the elections because of our victory in the reserved ST constituencies… Keeping in mind the sentiments of the tribal voters, it is only fair that the leader of the Assembly be one of the winning candidates of an ST constituency. And of course whoever is the leader of the House will naturally be the Chief Minister.”
BJP Tripura in-charge Sunil Deodhar remarked that he was unaware about Debbarma’s statement. “I have not seen this press conference. He has given his opinion. We are meeting IPFT leaders Monday morning and we will discuss the matter.”
Since its origin in the late 90s, the IPFT has been seeking a separate state for tribals by carving out the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council, stating that the indigenous people had become marginalised due to the huge migration of people to this state after partition of the country in 1947.
The IPFT struck an alliance with the BJP before the elections on the basis of a common minimum agenda, which included formation of a high-power committee with representations from the central and state governments and the indigenous community to address the problems of the tribals.
With PTI inputs
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