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Tripura: TIPRA Motha chief rules out alliance with BJP, says saffron party should contest all 60 seats

TIPRA Motha chief's statement followed BJP’s apparent move to foray into the tribal voter base by inducting Patal Kanya into its ranks.

TIPRA Motha chief and royal scion Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debbarma (Twitter, @PradyotManikya)

A day after Tripura Peoples Front (TPF) leader Patal Kanya Jamatia joined the BJP, TIPRA Motha chief and royal scion Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debbarma on Monday ruled out any chances of alliance with the saffron party.

Pradyot’s statement followed BJP’s apparent move to foray into the tribal voter base by inducting Patal Kanya into its ranks. Notably, the TIPRA Motha swept the state’s tribal council polls last year.

Patal Kanya, a tribal rights activist, had floated the TPF in June 2014. Notably, she had filed petitions with the Supreme Court over alleged largescale illegal immigration of people from across the border.

In a sharp attack at TIPRA Motha and BJP’s ruling ally Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT), Patal Kanya said after joining the saffron party, “Some people say Tipraland, some say Greater Tipraland… I announce today that we don’t need Greater Tipraland or Tipraland; we want greater unity instead.”

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She also said that a double-engine government was necessary for the development of tribals in the state and claimed the BJP would win the tribal council.

Asked about Pradyot Kishore’s TIPRA Motha, Patal Kanya remarked, “Greater Tipraland is a small dream; I don’t want to associate with it. I joined the strongest party since I wanted to take Tripura forward and strengthen the Tiprasa (Tripuri tribals).”

Reacting to Patal Kanya’s comments, Pradyot Kishore said the BJP should look at contesting all the 60 assembly seats alone in the 2023 general elections and not try to form an alliance with the TIPRA Motha.

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“A new BJP leader has made a statement that TIPRA Motha is too small a party to survive and also mocked our Constitutional demand of Greater Tipraland. Yes, the BJP is a very big party. They are the richest party in the country. They have bigger organizational strength than us. We are a small hill-based party. So, let the BJP fight in all 60 seats. We are ready to fight in 30-35 seats. In the end, the people will decide which is a small party and which is a big party,” Pradyot Kishore said.

Sending a terse message to the BJP, he also said the saffron party needs to clarify its position on Patal Kanya’s comments, without which, “there would be consequences”. He didn’t specify the consequences but said, “Arrogance is not a good thing in politics. Arrogance can bring down the high and mighty. If you have the arrogance and think you can take on all of us, we are ready to fight the BJP in every seat.”

Notably, 20 seats are reserved for Scheduled Tribes (STs) in Tripura’s 60-member Assembly. Pradyot’s TIPRA Motha has a major hold on tribal voters, who comprise nearly 30 per cent of the state’s population, and can influence the outcome in at least 15 other seats, apart from those reserved for the STs.

First published on: 21-03-2022 at 22:52 IST
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