Monday, December 5, 2022

Tribal party’s mega rally rocks Tripura politics

TIPRA supporters holding banners, take out a protest march, demanding ‘Greater Tripraland’, in Agartala, Saturday. (PTI)

A mega rally in Agartala organised by the tribal based party TIPRA (Tipraha Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance) that has been demanding “Greater Tipraland”, displayed their strength ahead of the next year’s assembly elections in Tripura, causing a concern to the major political parties.
Though TIPRA’s “Greater Tipraland” demand remained vague among the cross section of the people as it has no provision in the Indian constitution, the slogan largely attracted the minority tribals, who constitute one third of Tripura’s four million populations.
The demand for a ‘Greater Tipraland’ was raised few years back after the ruling BJP’s ally Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) got a massive support from the indigenous tribals when it ahead of the 2018 assembly elections vociferously demanded for “Tipraland” which sought a separate state for the Tripura tribals upgrading the existing Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC).
The politically most important TTAADC has a jurisdiction on over two-thirds of Tripura’s 10,491 sq km area and is home to over 12,16,000 people, of which around 84 per cent are tribals.
Focusing on the “Tipraland” issue the IPFT in the 2018 assembly polls secured eight of the 20 tribal reserve seats, which over the decades were the strongholds of the CPI-M.
After the TIPRA, headed by Tripura’s royal scion Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barman, captured the politically powerful TTAADC in April last year, the political significance of the new party in the mixed populated Tripura has further reinforced.
Defeating the BJP and the CPI-M, the TIPRA scripted history in the northeastern state by capturing the TTAADC, which is considered as a mini-legislative assembly of Tripura.
Political circles observed that Saturday’s first mega rally of TIPRA was bigger than the BJP’s public gathering on March 8 and CPI-M’s mass rally on February 24.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah and CPI-M General secretary Sitaram Yechury, party’s politburo members Prakash Karat and Manik Sarkar addressed the respective party’s gatherings. TIPRA supremo Deb Barman on Saturday announced to put up candidates at least in 35 seats in the next Assembly election on its own, putting a big challenge to the BJP and the CPI-M.
The TIPRA leaders while explaining about their ‘Greater Tipraland’ demand said that under the concept they wanted to improve the socio-economic conditions of the backward tribals living in the northeastern states of India, neighbouring Bangladesh, Myanmar and adjoining areas.
The BJP, CPI-M and the Congress though strongly opposed the IPFT’s “Tipraland” demand, the political parties officially not saying anything against the ‘Greater Tipraland’ demand apprehending loss of tribals’ support in the next elections.

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