Months ahead of the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) elections, the National Conference of Tripura (NCT) — a tribal political party merged with the regional party Indigenous Nationalist Party of Twipra (INPT) — said the union would make way for the unified struggle of tribal rights.
NCT was formed by Animesh Debbarma in 2006, after he broke away from INPT over leadership differences. Debbarma, who was elected the MLA from Ramchandraghat assembly constituency in 2008, has not won an election since.
Speaking to the media on the merger, he said, “I was a part of INPT and have returned to it but this is not about my joining. NCT is joining rank and file in INPT and the combined party will henceforth be known as INPT (United)”.
Debbarma reasoned that in spite of floating his party 13 years ago, he held scattered movements for long and suffered severe setbacks in dissipated agitations. “We held scattered movements for long. The result is that we are about to be finished. We have learnt that united we stand, divided we fall. Since charity begins at home, I have started by joining INPT. I believe others will join a similar initiative soon,” he said.
When questioned about his reason for his departure from the party followed by his return, he said, “I went away from INPT due to some problems. I don’t want to dig them out and I don’t think those problems will repeat because most of them (referring to those who had problems with him) are not here.”
INPT supremo and former rebel Bijoy Hrangkhawl said he was hopeful the merger would be advantageous to achieve tribal rights. “It is a new political history. I believe the merger will have a positive influence, especially in hilly terrains and indigenous villages. We have an ongoing plan and programme to bring different regional indigenous parties together. They are thinking about a common platform as well,” Hrangkhawl said.
On March 2, two other tribal parties — Tipraland State Party (TSP) and Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT)’s Tipraha faction — teamed up in an alliance and said they share similar priorities on opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the introduction of the National Register of Citizens (NRC). The joint forum said they would contest the Tripura tribal council elections together.
While the election schedule for TTAADC polls have not been announced, the incumbent council is scheduled to expire its term in May. The elections are likely to be held in April or May.
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