A crisis emerged in the Congress in Tripura on Tuesday with indications that state unit chief Pradyut Manikya Deb Barman may step down over differences with AICC in-charge of the state, Luizinho Faleiro.
Hitting out at Faleiro, who allegedly wants to have him replaced, Barman said he will not allow “BJP and RSS people” to take any “key post” in Tripura Congress.
At the heart of the tussle is Barman’s plea in Supreme Court seeking implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Tripura on the lines of Assam, and Faleiro’s alleged attempt to replace Barman with Subal Bhowmik, who rejoined the Congress from the BJP in March.
Bhowmik had left the Congress in 2013 and floated a regional party a year later. He joined BJP in 2016 and rejoined the Congress in March this year.
On Tuesday, Barman told The Indian Express, “BJP and RSS people want to take key post in Tripura. I will not allow that.”
Sources said Barman and Faleiro had a showdown over the NRC issue at a meeting of Congress leaders from the northeastern states last week, chaired by party president Sonia Gandhi. A leader who attended the meeting said Faleiro argued that Barman should not annoy Bengalis in the state.
Barman said, “I had filed a case seeking NRC in Tripura. He (Faleiro) told me that you to withdraw your case or step down as (Congress’s Tripura) president. I will not withdraw the case…. I am not compromising on withdrawing the NRC plea. I cannot betray the people.”
Barman is scheduled to meet Sonia on Wednesday and sources said he is in a mood to step down.
Barman said every Bengali in Tripura is not a Bangladeshi. “Anyone who is a genuine Indian, irrespective of religion, irrespective of language or faith, should not be discomforted,” he said. “But there should be a process — there may be Tripuris who have come in, there may be Nepalis who have come in…”
Barman maintained that implementation of NRC in Tripura “could even exclude key members of the Biplab Deb government in Tripura.”
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