Image used for representational purpose only.
Image used for representational purpose only.

Tripura Assembly elections: TIPRA Motha to contest 42 seats

The tribe-based party released its third list of 12 candidates on the last day of filing nominations on Monday.

GUWAHATI: The TIPRA Motha will contest 42 of Tripura’s 60 seats.

The tribe-based party released its third list of 12 candidates on the last day of filing nominations on Monday. The first list had the names of 20 candidates and the second, released on Sunday night, had 10 names.

The TIPRA Motha is influential in the 20 seats reserved for the STs in the tribal areas which make up two/thirds of Tripura. The 22 general seats, where it fielded candidates, have small tribal populations. 

The party’s prominent candidates include former BJP legislator Ashish Das, former Congress MLA Tapas De, former Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) MLAs Dhananjay Tripura and Brishaketu Debbarma, rebel leader-turned-politician Ranjit Debbarma and former Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council leader Hongso Kumar Tripura.

None from the state’s royal family, including TIPRA Motha chief Pradyot Manikya Debbarma, is contesting. 

Debbarma, who rose through the ranks in the Congress and served as its state president earlier, said the TIPRA Motha would fight for the “Greater Tipraland” state. The party demands the creation of a separate state for the Tiprasa (Tripura’s ethnic communities) through the bifurcation of the state’s tribal areas.

“We will keep fighting for our Constitutional demand (Greater Tipraland). If we can achieve it, the development will automatically come (in the tribal areas),” Debbarma told journalists on Monday.  

“No national political party had ever spoken about development in the tribal areas until we raised the demand. I have realised that if they are not shaken, they will not talk about our issues,” he added.

The TIPRA Motha is going it alone in the polls after its talks with the BJP failed. It had sought a written assurance on the statehood demand but the BJP-led central government refused to give anything in writing.

Debbarma wanted BJP ally IPFT to merge with the TIPRA Motha. The idea was to thwart the division of tribal votes and make things difficult for the BJP. However, the saffron party managed to thwart the attempt. It forged a pre-poll alliance with the IPFT as in the last election.

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The New Indian Express