‘If govt can talk to Hurriyat & NSCN, why not to us?’: TIPRA chief
Tripura’s royal scion Pradyot Bikram Manikya Debbarma is keeping his cards close to his chest even as he puts up TIPRA Motha,
Published: 07th February 2023 09:00 AM | Last Updated: 07th February 2023 09:00 AM | A+A A-
Tripura’s royal scion Pradyot Bikram Manikya Debbarma is keeping his cards close to his chest even as he puts up TIPRA Motha, the tribe-based party he heads, against the ruling BJP and makes no attempt to hide that there is no love lost between him and the Congress, now that he has parted ways. Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma may be the “Chanakya” of Northeast but “I am the Manikya of Tripura” (he belongs to Tripura’s erstwhile rulers, Manikya dynasty), Debbarma tells Prasanta Mazumdar. Excerpts:
Why do you need ‘Greater Tipraland’?
Tribals have been denied socio-economic, cultural and legislative rights. That is why we are asking for a constitutional solution. Greater Tipraland will not discriminate against anybody. The Assam CM said BJP is against Tripura’s bifurcation… Even I am against the division of Tripura. Who did politics in the name of tribals and non-tribals in the state?
Front of Tripura that demanded Tipraland and held violent rallies. Was Tripura not disintegrating then?
The Assam CM also said that voting for TIPRA Motha holds no meaning as it cannot form the government. Once, everyone in Assam would say do not vote for BJP. AGP was a far bigger party. Today, AGP is lost. Going by his logic, people should also not vote for the BJP in Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tamil Nadu and Kerala where it cannot capture power.
How will you realise the Greater Tipraland demand if voted to power?
We will negotiate. We believe in the paths of Mahatma Gandhi, Maharaja Bir Bikram and Vivekananda. We will never indulge in violence. If the government can talk to Hurriyat, ULFA and NSCN, why not to us?
Why did your bid to merge IPFT with Motha fail?
It did not happen because I don’t have as much money as the BJP. It is sad that IPFT is irrelevant now. Money is not everything. The British had more money than Indians but they had to leave India one day because there was passion and
honesty among Indians.
Your party is contesting 42 seats, including 20 ST seats.What made it contest the non-ST seats?
We are in a good position in the non-ST seats. No regional parties gave a chance to non-tribals for 60 years. We are trying to change the system.
What will be your priorities if it comes to power?
We will improve the law and order situation, uproot corruption and give jobs. Poverty has to be alleviated by granting rights to people.
You have been in touch with CPM state secretary Jitendra Choudhury. Is there a tacit understanding with them?
Why should I not talk to Choudhury or Sudip Roy Barman (Congress) and Jishnu Dev Varma (BJP)? But I am not going to align with CPM. If I talk to Rahul Gandhi, will it mean I am aligning with Congress? I had a meeting with Himanta dada. Am I aligning with BJP? Friendship and politics are different things.