After going separate ways with ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Lok Sabha and three-tier panchayat elections, Tripura’s ruling alliance partner Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) has announced that it would contest alone in the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) elections scheduled early next year.
However, the party said it was open for alliance talks with other political parties including the CPI (M). The Left party had won all the 28 seats in the district council elections in 2014.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, IPFT spokesperson Mangal Debbarma said his party entered into an alliance with the BJP on certain political issues which haven’t been fulfilled yet.
“Nothing is impossible in politics. BJP isn’t fulfilling their promises made with us. If they betray us, we can’t stay with them,” Debbarma said.
He added that his party is ready to contest alone in the TTAADC elections which are likely to be held in April or May in 2020.
We shall apply all our strength in contesting the ADC polls next year, Debbarma said at a briefing earlier late evening on Wednesday.
Debbarma that his party has kept the doors open for other political parties, even the Opposition CPI (M), for discussion on the alliance, provided that they agree to a common minimum programme on ‘Tipraland’ — a separate state for tribal communities — and ADC empowerment.
“If needed, we shall contest alone. But we are keeping doors open for other political parties to strike an alliance with us,” the IPFT leader said.
Debbarma claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited the IPFT for a discussion on an Inter-Ministerial High Power Modality Committee formed to study social, economic, linguistic and educational problems faced by Tripura tribals.
However, Debbarma said he and his colleagues would be busy observing Tipraland Demand Day on August 23. “We hope to visit New Delhi and meet the Prime Minister at the end of August month,” he told reporters.
Responding to the IPFT’s open invitation for an alliance, the CPI (M) said it would join hands with the party if it severs all ties with its ally BJP and drops the agenda of ‘Tipraland’.
“Nothing is permanent in politics. But if we are to talk alliance with IPFT, they have to first drop Tipraland agenda and sever all ties with BJP,” Tripura Left Front convenor Bijan Dhar said.
CPI (M) leader Pabitra Kar said, “We haven’t and can’t support these divisive demands of IPFT. They are now detached from tribal people and their saffron allies are trying to get rid of them. If IPFT leaves their Tipraland agenda, we might consider talks”.
Meanwhile, IPFT’s statements were received with a bit of skepticism by BJP leaders.
“It is their decision how they run their party. We shall not be affected by their actions. But if they are considering an alliance with CPI (M), it is most likely to cause deterioration of relations with us,” BJP state spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharya said.
Bhattacharya, however, said there is still time left for the district council polls and the BJP hasn’t started any discussion on the subject yet.