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Tripura tribal party to seal pre-poll deal with BJP to oust CPI(M)

Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura contested the 2013 assembly elections in an alliance with the Congress

india Updated: Sep 08, 2017 13:10 IST
Hindustan Times, Agartala
BJP,Amit Shah,Manikya ruler
BJP president Amit Shah at a public meeting at Kumarghat in Tripura. (PTI File Photo )

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is all set to enter into a pre-poll alliance with a tribal-based political party in a bid to unseat Manik Sarkar-led Left Front government in Tripura, which will go to polls early next year.

The Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) announced on Thursday its decision to tie up with the saffron party to take on the ruling CPI(M) in the assembly elections.

The development comes close on the heels of BJP president Amit Shah urging regional parties of the Northeast to join hands with the BJP in the recently concluded North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA)’s meeting in New Delhi.

“Our party has decided to forge a pre-poll alliance with the BJP to fight the CPM. We have been asked to attend the next NEDA meeting to be held in Guwahati in Assam later this month,” INPT general secretary Jagadish Debbarma said.

“In the meeting, we will place our demands for financial empowerment of the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council and inclusion of Kokborok (the native language of the indigenous Tripuri people) in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution among others,” Debbarma said.

Incidentally, the INPT had contested the 2013 assembly elections in alliance with the Congress. But this time it junked a Congress offer to be a part of an alliance led by the country’s grand old party, which has recently lost its main opposition tag to the BJP.

After installing BJP governments in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, the party is now eyeing Tripura where CPI(M)-led Left Front is in power since 1993.

After the NEDA meeting, BJP state president Biplab Deb held telephonic conversation with INPT chief BK Hrankhawl for the alliance.

The BJP claimed that the National Conference of Tripura (NCT), another tribal-based party, will also form an alliance with it. It also expects to get on board the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT).

The IPFT led by NC Debbarma, however, denied any such prospect saying it will stick to its demand for a separate Tipraland, while the other faction of the party is yet to take a call on the alliance.

To woo the tribal parties and indigenous communities, the BJP has promised to form Autonomous State Council and to introduce development schemes for the tribals.

It also pledged to place a proposal to confer country’s highest civilian award Bharat Ratna posthumously on the state’s last Manikya ruler Bir Bikram.

Seventh Pay Commission for government employees and employment generation through skill development are other election promises the BJP is making in the poll-bound state.

The party has deployed around 8,000 workers for a booth management drive with a task to contact each and every voter to spread Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s development agenda.

Modi is expected to address two booth-level party meetings at the end of October and Amit Shah is likely to visit the state in November, Deb added.

The BJP got a major boost last month when it marked its maiden presence in the state assembly after six Trinamool Congress legislators joined the party.

The MLAs have been asked to monitor the booth-management drive in their respective constituencies.

“The party will formulate its poll strategy based on the feedback it will get from the drive,” Dev said.

First Published: Sep 08, 2017 13:04 IST