Tripura tribal party to stick to ‘Greater Tipraland’ even as two party MLAs join BJP-led ministry

Agartala, March 7 (IANS) Newly-appointed Tripura minister and senior Tipra Motha Party (TMP) leader Animesh Debbarma said on Thursday that his party would continue its demand for ‘Greater Tipraland’ (a separate state for the tribals) under Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution. 

Tripura tribal party to stick to ‘Greater Tipraland’ even as two party MLAs join BJP-led ministry
Source: IANS

Animesh Debbarma and another TMP legislator, Brishaketu Debbarma, were on Thursday inducted into the BJP-led coalition government headed by Chief Minister Manik Saha.

After joining the BJP-led government, Animesh Debbarma said the TMP cannot forget its core issues for the all-round development of the tribals, who constitute one-third of Tripura’s four million population.

“Earlier, we were in the opposition. Now with the inclusion into the Cabinet, we have the authority and power to take forward our issues. We will continue to demand for ‘Greater Tipraland’ unless it is achieved,” he told the media.

In its maiden electoral battle in the Assembly polls held in February last year, the TMP had fielded 42 candidates, including 20 on the tribal reserved seats. The tribal party, which has been in charge of the politically important Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) since April 2021, won 13 seats in the 60-member Tripura Assembly with a vote share of 19.69 per cent.

Animesh Debbarma, a computer science engineer who worked with a Central PSU before joining politics 15 years ago, said that constitutional solutions are needed to the political, economic, and cultural issues facing the tribals in the state.

Before taking the oath on Thursday, Animesh Debbarma resigned from the post of opposition leader in the state Assembly.

“As the opposition leader, I fulfilled one kind of responsibility, while a Cabinet member has a different responsibility. I will try to perform the duties assigned to me as a minister with all sincerity,” he said.

TMP supremo and former royal scion Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barman, who along with other party leaders was present at the swearing-in ceremony at the Raj Bhavan, said that he has given clear instructions to his party MLAs who joined the BJP not to repeat the mistake committed by the IPFT after it joined the BJP-led government.

“The IPFT joined the Cabinet and then went silent on its demands,” Deb Barman told the media.

The Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPTF), also a tribal-based party, is an ally of the BJP, and its lone MLA Sukla Charan Noatia is now a Cabinet minister.

In the first BJP-led alliance ministry in Tripura led by former Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, there were two ministers from the IPFT, which since 2009 has been demanding to upgrade the TTAADC as a state for the tribals.

The ruling BJP, CPI-M, and the Congress have been opposing the demands of both the IPFT and TMP.