Ahead of Tripura polls, BJP ally IPFT holds merger talks with TIPRA

Eyeing the upcoming Tripura assembly elections scheduled for next month, Royal scion Pradyot Kishore Deb Barma-led TIPRA Moth party held discussions with the Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) on Saturday at Guwahati regarding the pre-poll alliance.

IPFT is Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) ally in Tripura.

According to sources, a close door meeting at a hotel in Guwahati was convened on Saturday between the IPFT delegation headed by its working president and cabinet minister Prem Kumar Reang and Pradyot Kishore along with TIPRA Motha’s president Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawl and senior leader Jagadish Debbarma.

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Earlier, Pradyot said that both parties are fighting for the same demand of seeking a permanent “constitutional solution for the indigenous people.”

Last week in the letter addressed to IPFT working president Reang, Pradyot said both parties are fighting for the same demand seeking a permanent constitutional solution for the indigenous people.

According to him, the parties have similar demand which he claimed is “survival and unity of the indigenous people.

His official proposal came on January 13, barely two weeks after the demise of IPFT president and revenue minister NC Debbarma.

The IPFT claimed to be with BJP as a partner in the state government but sounded unhappy as no action has been taken yet regarding Tipraland, a separate statehood demand for the indigenous people of Tripura.

“We are still in alliance with BJP. Our main demand is to form separate statehood, Tipraland since 2009. Even after our victory in 2018, there is still no future for Tiprasa,” said Reang.

“Bubagra is working to save Tiprasa. If we contest together, we all will benefit. We have decided to support him in the upcoming assembly polls,” he added.

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He said that the state government cannot do anything about the ‘Tipraland’ demand and the centre didn’t respond to the demand.

Speaking after the meeting, Pradyot said, “We have agreed to become a single party with a single flag and symbol. The process began today. We shall sit down again and make the official announcement.”

Recently, Pradyot held a meeting with Assam chief minister and North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) chief Himanta Biswa Sarma regarding the ‘Greater Tipraland’ demand in New Delhi.

Pradyot had previously said that no alliance would be formed with anyone till they receive any written document on their core ‘Greater Tipraland’ demand.

“We want a constitutional solution in writing, or else, we are not going to ally with any political party. We can’t betray our own people,” Pradyot said. Earlier he said that his party would fight the assembly polls alone for the welfare of the state but not for any particular community.

Meanwhile, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Congress are in the final discussion on seat-sharing adjustments and also appealed to TIPRA Motha to join the alliance.

The TIPRA Motha is currently in power in the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) polls since last year.

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