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IPFT faction says NC Debbarma is acting as BJP’s B-team, announces merger with TIPRA Motha

Stating that the IPFT suffered a split at least four to five times before, the outgoing leaders Saturday blamed NC Debbarma for creating an impasse which led to their departure.

NC Debbarma and other IPFT leaders address the media at a press conference. (Express)

Criticising Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura’s (IPFT) supremo N C Debbarma for acting as the “B-team of the ruling BJP”, a faction of the party announced that it is joining Tripura ADC’s ruling TIPRA Motha party. IPFT is a part of the ruling alliance in Tripura.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference, IPFT general secretary Dhananjoy Tripura said, “Everyone knows IPFT shifted from their core statehood demand under N C Debbarma’s watch. The party didn’t deliver, didn’t raise statehood demands in the Assembly. They were given enough time but they failed to achieve anything. Being a part of the government, there were only conflicts between IPFT and BJP and no coordination.” The breakaway faction also claimed 99 per cent of IPFT’s rank and file are with them and will join Motha on July 2.

Stating that the IPFT suffered a split at least four to five times before, the outgoing leaders Saturday blamed Debbarma for creating an impasse which led to their departure.

Accusing Debbarma of compromising on ‘Tipraland’ — his party’s core agenda of a separate statehood for the tribals of the state comprising tribal council areas — the outgoing leaders of his party’s frontal wings said, “The IPFT faction led by NC is the B-team of BJP. It’s clear since every time there used to be a discussion about raising voice on the day of session, none of the MLAs could speak on the issue.”

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The outgoing IPFT leaders said the party’s youth wing, students wing and women brigade are with them and will join TIPRA Motha party.

Another IPFT leader Mintu Debbarma said apart from his alleged silence and inaction to weaken the statehood movement of the tribals, N C Debbarma illegally tried to claim he was the party president when Mevar Kumar Jamatia, who was Debbarma’s protege and the party’s general secretary, was elected to become the next president in a party’s general meeting.

“The tribal party has now split into two parts. We who are supporters of Mevar Kumar Jamatia, have decided to join Bubagra Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debbarma’s call of thansa (unity) and merge in his TIPRA Motha party,” Mintu Debbarma, who is also an advocate, said.

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Outgoing IPFT leaders speak to media

Pradyot Kishore, who is the royal scion of Tripura’s Manikya dynasty, is often fondly called ‘Bubagra’, meaning king in the tribal dialect.

The leaders said they are joining TIPRA Motha since the latter has high similarities with IPFT’s core issue of Tipraland demand. Pradyot’s TIPRA Motha was floated in February last year and the journey on the demand for a ‘Greater Tipraland’, which is basically an extension of IPFT’s slogan, albeit in a wider scope. Pradyot’s Greater Tipraland proposes to govern Tripuri tribes living in Tripura, parts of Assam, Manipur etc, even parts of neighbouring Bangladesh.

Reacting to the announcement of the IPFT youth leaders, Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debbarma, who is now outside Tripura on health grounds, wrote on social media, “Those who want to fight for our movement and not for personal gains are always welcome!”

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Meanwhile, N C Debbarma rubbished the allegations later in the day and said these are “baseless political comments”. Debbarma said his party has been active on the statehood issue and raised the subject several times in the state Assembly.

He also said among other issues, his party MLAs have worked to increase the living standards of the tribals by granting land entitlements to the tea tribes, providing land pattas to the traditional forest dwellers among others.

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The octogenarian tribal leader also said a delegation of his party would celebrate the Tipraland Statehood Demand Day on August 23 like other years, but in New Delhi. “We have decided to convene our statehood demand day event at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. We have also got several leaders back from other parties who went away from us,” NC Debbarma said.

IPFT secured eight seats in the 60-member Tripura Assembly in the 2018 general Assembly elections and formed the government with the BJP which alone had 36 MLAs. TIPRA Motha swept the state ADC elections last year, barely two months after it was formed in February.

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First published on: 25-06-2022 at 08:15:05 pm
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