Two regional parties from Assam and Tripura on Tuesday formed a political alliance to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party and to fight for the rights of the indigenous people in the region, The Times of India reported. The BJP and its allies are in power in all of the eight North Eastern states.
The collaboration between the Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance, or Tipra, and the Assam Jatiya Parishad was announced by the party leaders in Guwahati.
Tipra chairperson and the scion of Tripura royal family, Kirit Pradyot Manikya Deb Burman, is leading the new political initiative. In 2019, he resigned from the Congress, saying that he did not want to listen to the “high command” anymore “to accommodate corrupt people in high positions”.
“The whole of northeast is now ruled by one party...the BJP and its allies,” Burman said while addressing the media on Tuesday in Guwahati, NDTV reported. He added that allies of the BJP are not happy.
In May 2016, the BJP had formed an anti-Congress bloc in the North East. The chief ministers of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Sikkim joined the saffron party to forge the North East Democratic Alliance, also known as NEDA.
Burman claimed that the NEDA was simply an “election-winning machine”, NDTV reported. He also said that alliance partners in Tripura, Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram were in talks to join the new political initiative.
Strengthening the regional political parties is one of the primary aims of the alliance, said Assam Jatiya Parishad President Lurinjyoti Gogoi. “The idea is to form a pivotal platform that speaks in the voice of the northeast, not the language of Delhi,” he added.
Gogoi said that the people from the North East have been paying for the cost of BJP’s aggressive agenda. “They [BJP] are trying to implement their concept of Hindutva, which is different from the old traditions of Hinduism based on love and compassion,” he said. “As a result, many ethnic traditions and languages have become either extinct or endangered.”
The new alliance is looking to sort out regional matters on priority. This includes repealing the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, updating the National Register of Citizens, safeguarding constitutional provisions for the protection of Tripura’s indigenous culture.
Burman’s party had earlier demanded the creation of Tipraland in 2019 for the indigenous Tripuri people in tribal areas of the state.
Burman said that the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress had given in writing that it would support their Tipraland demand in Parliament, according to NDTV.
In the alliance’s first move, a protest against the citizenship law will be held at the Guwahati district headquarters in Assam on September 14, The Telegraph reported. Gogoi also informed that a week-long programme will be held across the state to implement Clause 6 of the 1985 Assam Accord.
The accord safeguards cultural, social and linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people. Clause 6 ensures “constitutional, administrative and legislative safeguards” to the people of Assam