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BJP plans a tribal makeover for Bharat Mata ahead of Tripura polls

Tripura is one of three northeastern states where assembly elections are scheduled to be held next year.

india Updated: Nov 30, 2017 12:32 IST
Priyanka Deb Barman
Priyanka Deb Barman
Hindustan Times, Agartala
Tripura elections,Tripura,Manik Sarkar
Tripura has 19 indigenous communities, and the BJP is banking on the tribal vote to dislodge Manik Sarkar’s Left Front government that has ruled the state for more than two decades. (PTI File Photo)

The Bharatiya Janata Party, keen on adding Tripura to its kitty after Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur in the northeast, has decided to replace the attire of its saffron-wearing Bharat Mata — the personification of India — with indigenous tribal appearance.

Tripura is one of three northeastern states where assembly elections are scheduled to be held next year. The other two are Meghalaya, where the BJP is confident of displacing the Congress-led coalition, and Nagaland, which is ruled by a coalition that the regional Naga People’s Front, a BJP ally, heads.

“Portraits of Bharat Mata in traditional tribal attire will be alongside her portraits in her traditional sari, especially in areas inhabited by indigenous communities. This is driven by the idea of integration,” state BJP chief Biplab Deb said.

The concept, he added, would be extended to other northeastern states.

Tripura has 19 indigenous communities, and the BJP is banking on the tribal vote to dislodge Manik Sarkar’s Left Front government that has ruled the state for more than two decades.

In the first phase, the party is scheduled to make ‘Mother India’ wear the traditional dresses of four indigenous communities — Tripuri, Jamatia, Reang and Chakma. Bharat Mata is usually seen carrying a national flag and accompanied by a lion.

The party had in a bid to woo the indigenous voters demanded the renaming of Agartala Airport after the state’s last Tripuri king Bir Bikram Manikya. The party also sought a posthumous Bharat Ratna for the king.

First Published: Nov 30, 2017 12:32 IST