In a challenge to the ruling BJP, the Tripura Indigenous Peoples Regional Alliance (TIPRA Motha) has announced that it will contest more seats than the 20 reserved for tribals in the 60-member assembly if their demand for a Greater ‘Tipraland’- a proposed state for the indigenous people of Tripura – is not met.
The announcement was made by the chief of the party, Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debbarma, the titular King and head of the Tripuran Royal Family, at a massive rally from the same ground in Agartala that Union Home Minister Amit Shah addressed earlier this week to mark four years of BJP rule in the northeastern state.
Once a part of the Congress, Mr Debbarma called on the state’s leaders to remain united for political gains, slamming the ruling BJP and its predecessor CPI-M for delaying the demand for a state within the Tripura Tribal Areas.
“Unless the national party does not give written commitment for Greater Tripraland and implement the sixth schedule of the Constitution in letter and spirit, we won’t forge any alliance with them for the assembly elections,” the royal scion reiterated.
Terming the demand for a separate state “a constitutional right” for the tribals, he urged the Centre to call his party – which rules the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) – for dialogue.
“We are fighting to achieve our constitutional right beyond all communal politics and ideology,” he said.
On the Autonomous District Councils, Mr Debbarma said, “The ADC was set up under the sixth schedule of Indian constitution in the eighties but till date, no government has allowed it to function as per the constitutional provisions and enjoy the autonomy laid down in the Act.”
“If New Delhi can call Hurriyat and NSCN factions for talks that don’t even recognise India’s Constitution, then why not us?” Mr Debbarma fumed at the rally.