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Tripura tribal party to contest alone in Feb 16 Assembly polls

Agartala, Feb 1 (IANS) Putting rest to all speculations, influential tribal-based party Tipra Motha Party (TMP) on Wednesday announced it would contest alone in the February 16 Tripura Assembly elections.

The TMP has fielded candidates in 41 seats – 20 in tribal reserved and remaining in general and Scheduled Caste reserve seats.

TMP chief and former royal scion Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barman said that his party would contest the elections without alliance with any party.

Claiming the BJP and the Congress were getting support from leading industrialists and the CPI-M from the Kerala government, Deb Barman, in social media posts, urged the people to donate funds for the TIPRA or TMP.

“A small party on a Bigger Mission is seeking your support. Come Forward and Donate to TIPRA ! Remember, every contribution counts ! Note: We are not accepting any donation through any other account or UPI number” he said in a tweet.

However, CPI-M Tripura state Secretary and Central Committee member Jitendra Chowdhury, while addressing an election rally in southern Tripura on Tuesday, said that talks are on with the TMP or TIPRA for seat adjustments.

TMP or TIPRA supremo earlier held a series of meetings with the ruling BJP’s ally Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) for a seat adjustment but the IPFT leaders supporting the TMP’s demands did not forge any alliance with Deb Barman’s party. The IPFT, since 2009, has been demanding to make the areas under the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) as a full-fledged state while the TMP or Tipraha Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance (TIPRA) since 2021, has been demanding elevation of the TTAADC areas by granting of ‘Greater Tipraland State’ or a separate state under Article 2 and 3 of the Constitution.

The ruling BJP, CPI-M led Left, Congress, and the Trinamool Congress, though strongly opposing the demands of both IPFT and the TMP or TIPRA, have tried a lot to make seat adjustments or forge an electoral alliance with the TMP or TIPRA. However, the TMP or TIPRA did not field any candidate in the Sabroom assembly seat from where CPI-M’s Chowdhury is contesting.

In 2018, the BJP contested 11 tribal seats while its ally IPFT contested nine and won 9 and 8 seats, respectively, while the remaining two went in favour of the CPI-M, which has earlier strong base both among the tribals and the scheduled caste communities.