After being turned down by alliance partners BJP for Panchayat bye-elections, Lok Sabha polls and three-tier rural body polls, Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) now want its saffron partner to stay away from the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) elections scheduled for early next year.
Speaking to reporters today in Agartala, IPFT supremo Narendra Chandra Debbarma said a delegation of the party met BJP national working president JP Nadda on September 10 and submitted a memorandum to him. The party has also written him a letter seeking suport for making away for a joint effort for taking the ADC alone.
“We were assured ahead of 2018 assembly election that IPFT would be given full responsibility to contest alone and run political affairs in the ADC. BJP assured not to take part in it and support us. Both of us agreed to it and formed the alliance. So, we have written to the BJP national working president to allow our party to stage candidates for ADC elections next year, but with support of BJP”, Debbarma said.
Though the two allies have never actually seen eye-to-eye about a working political alliance since last year, NC Debbarma said he is hopeful that the saffron party’s central top brass will discuss the issue and open window for a dialogue on the subject.
IPFT was formed in the 1990s with the objective of forming ‘Tipraland’ – a separate state for triba; communities of Tripura. The party underwent several splits with splinter groups emerging from it till it resurfaced in 2009 under its current supremo NC Debbarma.
The party has declared its strength several times in hilly terrains of Tripura and expressed confidence that it would emerge successful in the 28 seated Tripura ADC elections. It also announced that doors were open for forging possible alliance with regional and national political parties, including CPI (M) – a party which it bitterly fought till the latter’s defeat in last year’s assembly electrions.
The tribal party has also requested BJP working president Nadda to allot it the ‘assured’ three berths in state cabinet. Currently IPFT president NC Debbarma and General Secretary Mevar Kumar Jamatia are ministers in the Biplab Deb government.
Tripura has a 12-member cabinet, out of which only eight seats are currently occupied. Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb always kept three seats vacant for undisclosed reasons since its formation in March, 2018. Former Health Minister Sudip Roy Barman was sacked from the cabinet in May this year, leaving four seats vacant.
“We were promised to give three berths in the cabinet. We have got only two. We have requested that we should be given the third one,” NC Debbarma, who is a senior member of the cabinet, said.
The party would hold ‘Delhi Abhiyan’ in November this year to hold demonstration on their demand for ADC empowerment and statehood. BJP spokespersons were not available for comments on the subject.