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Tripura Elections: TIPRA Motha Chief says ‘Party to Contest Alone, No Alliance With Anyone’

Party supremo confirmed meeting took place between MHA and TIPRA leaders; Will not be allying with any formation in absence of written assurance accepting demand for Greater Tipraland.
Pradyot Deb Barma, the chief of Tipra Motha, a forum of regional parties in Tripura. Credit: Facebook

Pradyot Deb Barma, the chief of Tipra Motha, a forum of regional parties in Tripura. Image Courtesy:  Facebook

New Delhi: Putting an end to all speculations over the alliance of Tipraha Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance (TIPRA Motha) with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) or other political parties, Motha’s chairman Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debbarman on Friday clarified that the regional indigenous political party is contesting alone in the general election of Tripura slated to be held on February 16 next.

According to a report in The Hindu, Debbarma announced that his party will not be allying with any formation in absence of a written assurance accepting their demand of Greater Tipraland- a separate state carved out of the sixth schedule areas of the state. 

According to various reports, both the BJP and Left-led alliance were keen on having Tipra Motha on board. In a video message posted on his social media, the party supremo confirmed that a meeting took place between the Ministry of Home Affairs and TIPRA leaders-  including a dialogue with Home Minister Amit Shah and Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in Delhi, but their demands were not accepted. 

He said, “We went to Delhi because had we not responded to their invitation, the Government of India could have said that we did not respond to their invitation. We heard what they said. One thing is clear from the discussion: they haven’t given anything in writing. I want to tell my Tiprasa warriors and the whole community that there will be no alliance in these elections.”

Requesting the media not to disturb him, Debbarman said, “Today, we are announcing the names of candidates and we shall fight these elections to defeat those who are against our demand. Be ready, we may face victory or defeat but we shall put up one last fight.”

On speculations running thick and fast, the royal scion said, “This is not the fault of the people. For the last 46 years, regional parties signed agreements with the national parties and after the elections our community received nothing.”

The Greater Tipraland includes the region under the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTADC) and 36 villages within the Tripura state boundaries. Tipra Motha is demanding that this should be carved out as a state or a Union Territory. Currently, Mr Debbarma said, that the TTADC receives 2% of the state budget while it has 40% of the state’s population. This, Mr Debbarma had declared, was non-negotiable for any alliance. 

Meanwhile, the opposition Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M) has raised serious questions on the role of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and claimed that for political reasons the government of India violated the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) that came into force soon after the polls were declared.

According to a report published in EastMojo, CPIM state secretary Jitendra Chowdhury said, “This is completely wrong on the part of the Ministry of Home Affairs. We are not going to blame TIPRA Motha. Definitely, they have been agitating about the demand and if they are invited they will go. It is wrong on the part of the Ministry of Home Affairs, particularly, Union Home Minister Amit Shah. This is a gross violation of the Model Code of Conduct. We shall soon write this to the Election Commission of India.”

However, the report states that parties like Congress and All India Trinamool Congress disagreed with Chowhdhury. “MHA can meet anybody, this is not a violation of the Model Code of Conduct. However, if an order issued in regard to the meeting which could have acted as an inducement to the voters might be considered as a violation,” former MLA and Congress leader Asish Kumar Saha told EastMojo.

On the other hand, senior advocate Purushottam Roy Barman contesting as an independent candidate from the Ramnagar constituency of Agartala termed this as an MCC violation. “This meeting aims to influence a large section of the voters. In my view, this is against the Model Code of Conduct. I don’t know how the Election Commission of India is going to react to that but it does violate the MCC,” he told EastMojo.

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