The Tripura People’s Front, led by tribal rights activist Patal Kanya Jamatia, on Sunday merged with the Bharatiya Janata Party at an event in Agartala, The Hindu reported.
Jamatia said that she took the decision after seeing the “pro-people governance” of the BJP-led government in Tripura. The Biplab Kumar Deb-led government has completed over four years in power and the next Assembly election in the state is slated to be held by March 2023.
On Sunday, Chief Minister Deb, state party chief Manik Saha and Union minister Pratima Bhoumik welcomed Jamatia and others members of the Tripura People’s Front into the BJP, ANI reported.
The Tripura People’s Front chief said that the merger was aimed at ensuring safety and peace for people living in the hills. She said that Deb is “the first chief minister of Tripura who wants to create equal opportunities for tribals as well as non-tribes”.
Deb, on his part, congratulated Jamatia for her “courageous fight” and said that she had the support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP chief JP Nadda. “Today, I got another sister in the form of Patal Kanya, and a brother knows how to keep his sister safe from imminent threats,” he said, according to ANI.
Jamatia claimed that on Saturday night, workers from the Tipraha Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance, or TIPRA, indulged in violence and threatened her party workers with dire consequences if they attended the rally in Agartala.
TIPRA, headed by royal scion Pradyot Kishore Debbarman, has been demanding a separate state of “greater Tipraland” for Tripura’s indigenous communities. The party currently rules Tripura’s Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council.
However, the Tripura People’s Front chief said on Sunday that rather than “greater Tipraland”, what was needed was greater unity between tribals and non-tribals.
Meanwhile, Debbarman on Sunday said that there was no possibility of an alliance between the TIPRA and the BJP, Northeast Today reported.
“The BJP leaders insisted that TIPRA is a minor party,” he said. “Of course, the BJP is a larger party with a wider support base. If this is the BJP’s stated policy, they should be prepared to battle for all sixty of Tripura’s assembly seats.”
He added that TIPRA will fight the elections in 30 to 35 constituencies in the state.
Debbarman said that while the TIPRA may be a minor party in comparison to the BJP, it was not corrupt and would not compromise on its demands.