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IPFT leaders in Tripura join Congress, say were ‘fooled’ by party’s ‘Tipraland’ slogan

Both BJP and Congress have expressly rejected possibilities of forming a separate state for tribal communities in the state and have spoken against the separation of Tripura.

Written by Debraj Deb | Agartala | April 2, 2019 4:05:17 pm
IPFT (Indigenous People Front of Tripura) and other tribal wings on a road and rail blockade movement programme on the demand of separate state in 2017, ‘TIPRALAND” in the outskirts of Agartala, Capital of the Northeastern state of Tripura. (Express Photo by Abhishek Saha)

Indigenous people of Tripura were ‘fooled’ and ‘confused’ with the slogan of ‘Tipraland’, a group of IPFT leaders said after joining Congress party here Tuesday. Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) is an indigenous regional party formed in 2009, which has been demanding for ‘Tipraland’, a proposed separate state for tribals living in Tripura. Follow election LIVE updates here

Youth IPFT leader and Belonia Divisional head Mrinal Tripura said, “Innocent indigenous people believed in the slogan of ‘Tipraland’. They were confused with it. IPFT leaders raise these slogans in the villages but forget them the moment they reach the city. We have left IPFT and joined Congress for the sake of better future of indigenous communities.”

The new state was proposed to comprise the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) areas, which account for two-thirds of the state’s geographical area. The indigenous party allied with BJP and won 44 out of 60 seats in the state Assembly last year.

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However, one year after the coalition government was formed, many IPFT leaders felt the promise of ‘Tipraland’ was not honoured.

Senior IPFT vice chairperson Kriti Mohan Tripura said he has struggled with IPFT leaders NC Debbarma, Mevar Kumar Jamatia and others for the past 10 years. He said he was disillusioned by the betrayal with tribal peoples’ aspirations and has joined Congress with 400 odd followers today.

Both BJP and Congress have rejected possibilities of forming a separate state for tribal communities in the state and have spoken against the separation of Tripura.

Mrinal Tripura added that Tripura Pradesh Congress president Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debburman, who is also the state’s royal scion, has assured development of indigenous communities if Congress is voted to power in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Congress has fielded Prajna Debburman, a ‘princess’ of Tripura’s Manikya dynasty, and former BJP senior vice president Subal Bhowmik as candidates in East Tripura and West Tripura Parliament constituency seats respectively this year.

The West Tripura seat is scheduled to go to polls on April 11, while East Tripura seat would have its poll day on April 18. Over 26 lakh people would exercise their franchise rights in the general elections here this year.

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