AGARTALA: The BJP on Thursday forged an alliance with the tribal-based Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT) to unitedly fight the February 18 elections to the state assembly, Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said here.
"After a series of discussions, the BJP and the IPFT (NC Debbarma faction) formed an alliance to fight unitedly against the ruling Left," Sarma, the BJP in-charge of the Tripura elections, told the media.
According to the deal, the BJP will field candidates in 51 of the 60 seats and the IPFT in nine. "If any leader of other parties is keen to enter this alliance, he or she has to contest on BJP's lotus symbol."
Sarma, convener of the BJP-led anti-Congress North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), said his party would not form any alliance with other two tribal-based parties -- Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) and National Conference of Tripura (NCT).
"The names of the nominees would be declared on Saturday evening or Sunday morning," said Sarma, a former Congress Minister who joined the BJP before Assam assembly elections in 2016.
On the IPFT's separate state demand, he said the Modi government and a BJP-led government in Tripura -- if one is formed -- would take steps to develop the socio-economic condition, education, language and culture of the tribals.
He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and many other central leaders will campaign for the party from second week of February.
The Communist Party of India-Marxist and the Congress have denounced the BJP for aligning with the IPFT which they say has links with the terrorist National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT). The IPFT has denied the accusations.
The IPFT since 2009 had been agitating for upgrading the existing Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) to a separate tribal state.
The Congress is also discussing with NCT and INPT and Rajeshwar Debbarma-led faction of IPFT to forge a possible alliance with the three tribal-based parties. The INPT is an old electoral ally of Congress.